Lori Nazemetz stays active.

The former Carolina Panthers cheerleader knows the value of physical fitness. Through her work in biology and medical technology, she has seen the health benefits of having an active lifestyle. But, it’s more than that. Fitness can save lives. Literally. For more than a decade, Lori Nazemetz has served as the Director of Self Defense Training for Dragon Fighting Systems. Here, she works with clients to ensure their safety and security.

But staying fit is more than just a profession. Whether it’s performing in NFL stadiums or training in traditional jujutsu, Lori Nazemetz never backs down from a challenge. For this reason, she routinely competes in running races to continue to push herself.

She encourages others to do the same. Yet it’s not as simple as lacing up sneakers and hitting the pavement. It’s important to have a plan. Even if you’ve never run a mile, Lori Nazemetz discusses six tips from her own training regime to help get you started.

Set a date

Goal-oriented training yields the best results. It’s important to have something to look forward to. So, begin by picking a race. Simply circle the calendar to use this as the endpoint for your training. Then, work backward as you build your schedule. For an initial race, select something close to home. You can familiarize yourself with the route.

Build distance

Log miles for about a year before entering any race. Runners should aspire for three to five runs each week. In the last couple of months leading up to a race, the target should be to reach 50 miles each week. But Lori Nazemetz cautions against drastic increases. Progressing too quickly can lead to fatigue, burnout, or injury. She recommends only a 10% increase every seven days.

Test your limits

But you do need some longer runs. You are training for a marathon after all. Every few weeks, work up to greater distances. Although you want to limit huge spikes in overall mileage, these runs should extend typical runs by a mile or two each time. Adjust your pace. As you build distance, start at a slower pace early to compensate.

Add speed

The same route can get stagnant and stale over time. Spice up runs by adding in speed work. This optimizes aerobic capacity. Interval training is a common practice, repeating shorter distances at faster paces. Walk or slowly jog in between sets.

Hit the gym

Running alone isn’t enough. The repetitive movements of running increase wear and tear on the body. Cross-training and strength exercises help mitigate these issues. For example, biking or swimming are lower impact, relieving pressure on the joints while still elevating the heart rate. When added to your running routine, these workouts better prepare your body for the grind of race day. In addition to her martial arts training, Lori Nazemetz mixes in these activities a few times per week.

Recover

Rest is equally important. Muscles are built during periods of rest. Prioritize recovery. Schedule it as part of your training plan. This minimizes the threat of injury and fatigue. If aches, pains, and issues do occur, extend recovery as needed.

Posted in running, Sport