Category Archives: Running Blog

The Importance of Using a Running Plan

Why Use a Running Plan?When it comes to our general health and physical well-being, it’s safe to say that the amount of exercise we engage in can play a vital role in determining just how healthy, or indeed unhealthy, a person may be. Now, when it comes to exercise, running is an absolutely fantastic place to begin, providing you with a fantastic workout, and an extremely enjoyable hobby for many people as well. Running is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of exercise and sport in the entire world, with some people even dedicating their entire lives to it. One thing is for certain however, and that is that whether you’re a beginner, or a seasoned running veteran, a specially designed running plan could prove to be extremely beneficial to you indeed. Running plans are basically running based workouts that are carefully designed to clearly tell you exactly what kind of running workout you’ll be following each day/week. Here are just a few reasons why they’re so important and beneficial.

Running plans clearly tell you what you need to do –

If you’re serious about your running, you’ll want to improve and progress, and tackle it from a professional standpoint. For that reason, rather than simply lacing up your running shoes and just heading out for a run until you get bored, you should instead make use of a specially designed running plan, as that way, you’ll know exactly what it is you’ve got to do, how much mileage you should be covering, how quickly, and which warm ups and cool downs you should be doing. Knowing in advance means there’s no nasty surprises, and allows you to mentally prepare for what lies ahead. It also encourages you to keep going so that you don’t quit before you’ve reached your target distance and/or time.

Running plans allow you to improve and progress –

If you just decided to go for a 20 minute run one night, and went running for roughly 20 minutes, came home, and had no idea how much distance you’ve covered, how would you know whether you were improving the next time you went for a run? A running plan is there in black and white, it will tell you how much distance to cover, at which sort of pace, and in what sort of time frame. Say you ran a mile and a half in twelve minutes one week for example, the next time you run that distance, you’ll know exactly how quickly you did it in, and have a goal to improve upon. Having targets to beat helps you to progress and improve.

There are running plans for each individual goal –

Another great thing about running plans is the fact that they’re so unique and can be aimed at almost anybody with a specific running related target in mind. Whether you’re just starting out and training for a 5k race, or are entering your first marathon type event, you can rest assured that there are specially created plans designed to help you train and prepare for your target races and goals in the most effective and efficient ways possible. Running plans are designed to help you prepare and to be the best runner you can be, and when you see them firsthand and try for yourself, you’ll understand exactly why they’re so effective and beneficial.

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5 min Dynamic Warmup for Your Runners

Jesse McFarland Running Coach Denver by: Jesse McFarland

At Download Running Programs, we believe that flexibility for runners is crucial. This 5 minute Dynamic Warmup is great for the lower extremities specifically for runners. Most important, it’s efficient and time friendly. Let’s face it, most of us hate warming up, we just want to get the run started. A 5 minute warmup is reasonable for any runner.

Dynamic Warmup Exercises

  • Walking Knee Tucks
  • Walking Quad Pulls
  • Walking Leg Cradle
  • Lunge and Twist
  • Pivoting Lateral Lunges
  • Walking Toy Soldiers

Perform each exercise for 5-10 yards.

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Why Hire a Running Coach?

Jesse McFarland Running Coach Denver by: Jesse McFarland

Running: you step outside and start moving fast. It’s simple, running is a basic natural human movement that our bodies are designed to do. So, why would anybody need to hire a running coach? The truth is that running is not the natural movement it once was and it has turned into a movement that we now try to avoid doing. Over time, we have found other ways to move: automobiles, public transportation, bike, scooters, segways, etc. Instead of way of traveling from point A to point B, the movement of running is now a form of exercise. Therefore, running has turned into a low priority option and many of us simply need to re-learn the proper movement.

[See our Running Coach Directory Here!]

Hiring a runningRunning Coach Online coach is like hiring any type of professional service. A running coach will help you become more efficient, learn proper technique, make you accountable, and create scientific plans that will help you train for specific races (5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon).

Running Coaches & Running Plans

[See our Online Running Coach Page Here!]

Sure, you can download running plan from our site or get information from a book. This is all excellent information yet, these plans are built in a general manner to fit a population group, not an individual. A running coach will design a specific plan for you that fits your schedule, level of fitness, running experience, limitations or injuries, and many other factors considering your individual needs. Plus, do you run hills on your own? Do you do interval training? Have you tried other methods of running style like Jeff Galloway? These are all methods that a running coach may use.

Where can I find a Running Coach?

You can visit our small but growing running coach directory and there are many other directories out there like Online running coaches is another option and are great for runners who already have proper form and just need custom designs for specific training plans like a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon, etc. For more information on online running coach, contact us.

We Need Running Coaches & Personal Trainers

Download Running Programs is looking to add quality running coaches and personal trainers who train runners, to the Running Coach Directory page. Why join our Running Directory? Download Running Programs gets thousands of web visits per month and most of these visit are people looking for more information on training. Many of these people are in the need of coaches and are located throughout the country. This is why it’s crucial that we add more coaches and trainers to our directory.

What is a Running Coach?

Running Coach DirectoryProfessionally certified.
Minimum: 1 year of experience of at least one of the following:
Coaching experience of 5K.
Coaching  experience of 10K.
Coaching experience of halfmarathon.
Coaching experience of marathon.
Track and Field coach. (Any running event)

What are the Qualifications for Personal Trainers?

Personal Trainers for RunersProfessional certified.
Experienced runner.
Minimum: 1 year of training experience.
Currently or previously trained competitive runners.
Experience training individuals in at least one of the following:
Training knowledge with 5K.
Training knowledge with 10K.
Training knowledge with halfmarathon.
Training knowledge with marathon.
Training knowledge with Track and Field.

If you have any questions or you are interested in joining our Running Directory, please email us at

Information required to directory page:
State, city you coach in.
Face image.
Email address.
Landing page URL. (blog, place you train, etc.)

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Running Playlist for September 2013

It’s September and time for our running songs of the month. Every month, Download Running Programs creates a running playlist. This month, we are doing something a little different, we are just using songs from 2013. So, checkout our Running Playlist for September 2013. Enjoy the running songs we chose for the month of September and let us know what you think. For more running songs, see our July Running Playlist, August Running Playlist. And…
Check out our RUNNING MUSIC page.

September Running Playlist 2013:

To see the running song of the day: Follow us on:
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Listen to the September Playlist here

Hopeless Wanderer by Mumford and Sons
Get Lucky (feat. Pharrell Williams) by Daft Punk
Imagine Dragons by Radioactive
Blurred Lines (feat. T.I. & Pharrell) by Robin Thicke
Royals by Lorde
Safe and Sound by Capital Cities
Can’t Hold Us by: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Ray Dalton
Thrift Shop by: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Wanz
Sweater Weather by: The Neighbourhood
Pompeii by: Bastille

Share your playlists with us and we’ll post it! Running Programs, is striving to become an accurate and engaging Running Blog. If you have any thoughts on a blog post that we should write, please let us know!

Running Music Products:

Headphones, Armband, and much more.

runners ear phones  Yurbuds Ironman Headphones  Yurbuds Ironman Series Sport Earphones  Phone Arm  Band for RunnersPhone Arm Band for Runners

You can all our music products at our running headphones page.

Hotel Room Workout for Runners

Jesse McFarland Running Coach Denver by: Jesse McFarland

hotel-workoutA couple of my longtime clients are going on an extended vacation right after their last marathon/half marathon of the season. They asked, for a basic workout that they can do in their hotel room so they can maintain some sort of fitness level. Usually, I recommend my clients to simply just enjoy their vacation because a few weeks of rest can be a great thing for the body. (See previous post Running on Vacation.) Yet the vacation they are going on this year will last 6 weeks. Plus, they’re going to Italy and I’m sure they will be enjoying the fine wine and dining. So, I made an exception of my general vacation rule and created a strength workout specific for runners that requires no equipment and limited space. Also, it’s a short workout so it shouldn’t eat up the well-deserved vacation time.

Hotel Room Strength Exercises for Runners

Circuit 1:
3 Sets:

Bridges on Floor.                                        2 second hold. X10 Reps.
Single Leg Bridges on Floor                       2 second hold. X10 Reps, Each Leg.
Bridge Hold: Alternate Single Leg Lift.        2 second hold. X10 Reps, Each Leg

Circuit 2:
3 Sets:

Bicycles                         30 Seconds
Leg Lowers                   30 Seconds
Prone Plank                  60 Seconds

Circuit 3:
4 Sets:

Alternating Step Back Lunges  X15 Reps, Each Leg
Push Ups                                   X15 Reps
Wall Sits                                     X30 Seconds
Mountain Climbers                    X30 Seconds

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Running Tours in the Virgin Islands

Active Island Tours & Events offers guided running tours in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. A knowledgeable tour guide will give you a local’s perspective while steering you through some of the Caribbean island’s most scenic vistas and historic sites.

running-by-the-pierLearn why they say the best way to explore a new place is through running. But don’t try to find your own way! Let the team at Active Island navigate you through the safest, most picturesque routes on the island. Active Island doesn’t just offer a group run. It gives vacationers a full package: Sightseeing, a commemorative moisture-wicking performance shirt, vacation photos, bottled water, a local cocktail, and like-minded vacation friends! After all, this company believes “a salty workout deserves a sweet reward.”

Running on a Cruise?

running-tours-caribbeanItching for a Caribbean cruise? Active Island has a specific course geared towards cruise ship passengers. Your informative tour guide will pick you up right off your ship and take you on an unforgettable experience.
More of a resort person? Active Island also offers a guided tour on the beautiful East End of St. Thomas, where many of the island’s running-off-the-virgin-islandsbest resorts are located.
Giving back to the community is important to Active Island, which donates $1 from each ticket sold to a designated local charity or nonprofit, in addition to monies raised via the company’s fundraising efforts.
Active Island also hosts active events like themed road races on a running-on-beachregular basis. Schedule your trip around the “Cruzan Rum Run,” a costumed 2.9-mile race offering Cruzan rum at the finish line, or the “VI ‘Til I DYE” un-timed paint race.
This company is passionate about proving that fitness can be fun, and that you can work out on vacation while enjoying an interactive sightseeing experience. Let them show you how your workout can be the most memorable part of your vacation.
For more information or to register for a tour, visit or call 855-RUN-DA-VI (855-786-3284).

Training For Your First 5K?

Are you training for your very first 5K? Or are you a beginner? At Download Running Programs, we have several 5K running programs to choose from. Try this beginners 5K running plan.

Week 1:
Monday: 1 Mile Run/Walk
Tuesday: Active Rest (20-30 min. light cardio)
Wednesday: 1 Mile Run/Walk
Thursday: Active Rest (20-30 min. light cardio)
Friday: Active Rest (20-30 min. light cardio)
Saturday: 1.5 Mile Run/Walk
Sunday: Rest
Week 2:
Monday: 1 Mile Run/Walk
Tuesday: Active Rest Active Rest (20-30 min. light cardio)
Wednesday: 1 Mile Run/Walk (without stopping, if possible)
Thursday: (20-30 min. light cardio)
Friday:(20-30 min. light cardio)
Saturday: 2 Mile Run/Walk
Sunday: Rest
Week 3:
Monday: 1 Mile Run/Walk
Tuesday:(20-30 min. light cardio)
Wednesday: 2 Mile Run/Walk. (without stopping, if possible)
Thursday: (20-30 min. light cardio)
Friday: (20-30 min. light cardio)
Saturday: 3 Mile Run/Walk
Sunday: Rest
Week 4:
Monday: 2 Mile Run/Walk
Tuesday:(20-30 min. light cardio)
Wednesday: 3 Mile Run/Walk (without stopping, if possible)
Thursday: (20-30 min. light cardio)
Friday: (20-30 min. light cardio)
Saturday: 4 Mile Run/Walk
Sunday: Rest
Week 5:
Monday: 2.5 Mile Run/Walk
Tuesday:(20-30 min. light cardio)
Wednesday: 3.25 Mile Run/Walk (without stopping, if possible)
Thursday: (20-30 min. light cardio)
Friday: (20-30 min. light cardio)
Saturday: 3 Mile Run/Walk
Sunday: Rest
Week 6:
Monday: 2 Mile Run/Walk
Tuesday:(20-30 min. light cardio)
Wednesday: 2 Mile Run/Walk (without stopping, if possible)
Thursday: (20-30 min. light cardio)
Friday: (20-30 min. light cardio)
Saturday: 5K Race Day!!!!
Sunday: Rest

5K Running Plans

Beginners 5K Running PlanWe have several different running plans to choose from. We have 6 week and 8 week, 3 day/week and 4 day/week, and 5K running programs for beginners, experienced, and advanced. All of these downloads are currently free. We also have programs for 10, Half marathon, and marathon. See our running plans here.

Hamstring Stretch For Runners

Jesse McFarland Running Coach Denver by: Jesse McFarland

Who’s got time for stretching??? Nobody does. But, we all know that it’s a good idea. I’ve been a trainer/coach/athlete most of my life and I know the value of stretching. Having flexibility in muscles/tendons and a dynamic range of motion helps maintain a quality active lifestyle and can decrease chance of injury while being active. Yet, even knowing and preaching this, I admit that I do not stretch enough. For me, its not about the actual stretching exercise as much as it is just doing it consistently. To be efficient with time, volume, and quality of exercise (in that order), I stretch like I strength train by performing “circuit training.” Below is a circuit of a static hamstring stretching for runners.

Stretching Equipment for Runners

Hamstring Stretch for Runners  Stretching Cord for Runners

Download Running Programs will be expanding on this subject soon. Especially in the area of static vs dynamic stretching. If you have any questions about hamstring stretching for runners, contact us or participate in our new running forum.

Running in Wash Park Denver

Jesse McFarland Running Coach Denver by: Jesse McFarland

I am so blessed to live in one of the best parks in Denver Colorado. Wash Park or (Washington Park) offers all types of activities, picnics, playgrounds, boating on the pond, volleyball, bbq, tennis, basketball, etc. (here’s a great blog post on 30 activities in Wash Park). Wash Park is also one of the most popular places to run in all of Denver. Washington Park is located in South Denver and is about 1 mile North from University of Denver.

Running in Wash Park Denver CO:

Wash-Park-Running-RouteDepending on which path you take, the average distance around the park in whole is 2 to 2.5 miles. The most popular route is a gravel running path and you will see runners on this nearly every hour of the day and everyday of the year. Yes, I’ve seen people running late at night and even during a blizzard in the winter. There are all types of people who run this path. (I should know as I’ve been passed by every type). Marathoners, 5Ker’s, walkers, pregnant women groups, exercisers, Jeff Galloway runners,dog runners/walkers, and geese & ducks all enjoy the running path at Wash Park. By the way, watch out for the geese in Spring time. After their newborns hatch, the parents get quite territorial and I’ve been nipped several times (startling, not painful).

Map of Wash Park Denver CO


Thunderstorm Sunset Wash Park Denver

There are several running routes in Wash Park. According to my training runs while using the running app MapMyRun, the distance around the running gravel path is 2.5 miles. According to the Wash Park website, the perimeter is 2.35 miles, the roadway (pavement path) is 2.27 miles, path around Grasmere Lake is .80 miles, path around Meadow is .90 miles, and Smith Lake is .65 miles. If you are running, walking, or crossing the bike path, make sure you pay attention to cyclist and don’t walk or run on their side of the road. This is the only potentially dangerous part of the park as there a lot of bikers and some don’t obey the speed limit. However, I’ve seen Park Rangers enforce this often lately.

5K’s in Wash Park Denver CO

Wash Park is perfect for 5K training runs and it’s a destination for many 5K races and charity runs/walks. There is also several different running groups that meet at the park nearly year round. You can find our more information at the Wash Park Rec Center (Oh ya, there’s a rec center too!). Personally, my favorite event/running group is the Wash Park Pub Run. The pub run starts at Whole Foods at 6:30pm every Wednesday and ends at Pub on Pearl. At the pub, you get a free healthy dinner from Whole Foods and a free beer from the pub. It’s a fun run and a great social event that occurs every Wednesday from April through the Fall. Do it 10 times, and you get a free T-shirt!
Washington Park in Denver is just one of the many fun and popular places to run in my favorite place on Earth: Colorado. Download Running Programs is always looking to improve our Running Blog, let us know where your favorite places are to run and train.

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