Well prepared for the running season: expert tips for beginners and advanced runners

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christian Gäbler and his team from the Center for Sports and Joint Surgery at Confraternität Private Hospital and Sports Outpatient Clinic in Vienna give tips on how beginners and advanced runners should prepare for the new running season.

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christian Gäbler

Medical fields:
Sports traumatology
Trauma surgery

Running preparation for beginners

Even if you are full of motivation: As a beginner, you should take it slowly and pay attention to a few important points.

1. The pace should hardly be faster than walking pace for the first ten minutes. Depending on your level of fitness, you can alternate between walking and running slowly for the first ten minutes. The best running pace is one at which you can still carry on a conversation without any problems.

2. We also recommend to find a running partner as it is very motivating and you can benefit from an experienced training partner with a big running experience. The important thing here is that you don't unconsciously run too fast in order to keep up with the others.

3. The basic principle for beginners' training is: It's better to be long and slow than short and fast. The training effect for beginners is far greater with long, slow running than with short, fast running.

4. From the age of 35 and without any practical sporting experience (ball sports, cycling, swimming, mountaineering, etc.), a sports medical examination is important before you start running. In this way, any limiting factors can be excluded and the individual level of stress can be determined.

5. Last but not least, it's important not to skimp on equipment when running - the right and perfectly fitting shoes are a MUST!

Running preparation for advanced runners

Not all running is the same: you can choose from a whole range of training forms, from easy endurance running to fartlek and interval training.

The extensive endurance run

Especially after the winter break, easy endurance runs build basic endurance. The pulse should be between 75 and 85 percent of the maximum heart rate and you train in the aerobic range. The goal of extensive running is to prepare the body for further stress and to switch the metabolism to burning fat. The average duration is 30 to 180 minutes.

Fartlek training

A variant of endurance running is the so-called “fartlek”: relaxed running alternates at irregular intervals with short distances at high speed. The warm-up and cool-down phases are important. It is particularly important that running training never ends or begins with a sprint, but always at a moderate pace.

Intense endurance running

During intensive endurance running, the pulse is between 85 and 90 percent of the maximum heart rate. The running pace is significantly higher than with extensive running training. Here you switch to the threshold range between aerobic and anaerobic - the body reaches an oxygen deficit. At the beginning of an intensive endurance run, you should start at a moderate pace. The intensity is increased and you remain constant under this load. Finally, you relax. The duration can vary, but is usually shorter than extensive endurance running.

Interval running

During interval training, phases of intense exercise - in the anaerobic range with a pulse of 90 to 95 percent of the maximum heart rate - alternate with breaks. During fast-paced stress phases, the body produces lactic acid due to the oxygen deficit, which it can break down again during the short recovery phases. Interval training helps develop tolerance to lactate, the salt of lactic acid. This means that the muscles tire less quickly and you can continuously increase your training performance. Important: Before you start interval training, you must have basic endurance.

Regeneration run

With a pulse of up to 65 percent of the maximum heart rate, one can speak of an “active break” or a regeneration run. This is used for recovery and mental relaxation. Despite the slow pace, you should pay attention to the correct technique when running.


If you already have running experience and want to improve your speed, an important point is to optimize your running technique. Running ABC, also known as running school, is used to methodically exaggerate running-specific movement sequences to improve and develop the movement sequence. The basic exercises such as skipping, knee lifts, hops, heels and backward running can be varied individually depending on the goals. The better your coordination, the more effectively you run.

Have fun running!

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