Hi Katiecom and thanks for a serious post. I would never advise anyone to run backwards more than forwards. Just an ickle bit of backward running is enough. Even i only have a 75:25 ratio. You won't need to do much backward running for a good session. As i said previous there is a general consenus that 1 mile backwards = 4-6 miles forwards. So you will quickly manage a decent workout. I only spend 25 minutes most evenings running backwards and my heart rate for most of it is where i want to be. The point is with forward running you can easily slip into the comfort zone, especially if you do the miles, but backwards, it is very difficult not to be working outside your comfort zone almost immediately (because you are using more of your muscles and backward running forces an increased stride rate, akin to sprinting really). So really just extend your warm up you did. Maybe if you do intervals, perhaps add a few backward 100 metres (but only when you are confident to do so) or when you go on a longer run, just take turns with friends to turn around on a straight, flat stretch. But as a rule i avoid roads and pavements, unless i race, and prefer to stick to sand, grass and track. I've added a few notes below which may help
Choose a safe venue that is flat, wide and has a soft running surface, free from potholes, bumps and obstacles. A field, park or beach (at low tide) is ideal as is an athletics track, but run on the outside lane to avoid upsetting other runners. This also makes it easier to negotiate the bends.
Find a partner. If you struggle to find anywhere suitable, then run with a partner and take turns to run backwards. You may also want to wear some protection e.g. elbow and wrist pads, cycling helmet.
Walk the course first to check for potential hazards.
Start slowly with a series of short runs forward and backward, perhaps 50 metres each way. Inevitably, you will experience the odd wobble, but just get back up and try again. When you feel more confident and your lower body adapts, increase the distance (100m, 200m, 400m and so on) and speed.
Initially you will find yourself constantly looking over your shoulders. Learn to look behind without over-straining your neck and alternate between your left and right side. Also, make sure you stretch your neck muscles before each session.
Avoid running along the high street expecting cars and pedestrians to see you coming, and never run backwards down a hill, for obvious reasons. Finally, because of the stability issues you will initially experience, it’s advisable to put a trial run on hold if you have an existing ankle injury such as a sprain that could be easily aggravated by an unforeseen mole hill.
Aim to be able to run backwards for one mile within a few months, but remember to maintain a balanced training regime. For a really tough challenge, why not try and run backwards up hill or on a very soft, sandy beach.
Waylone, Is your long run all on the flat or including hills? Do you run on your toes or are you a heel striker? What sort of trainers do you wear? There are many different variables for every runner. If you do run up a few hills or tend to toe strike you will work your calves. I am not trying to pass off backward running as the only option and yes there will be exceptions. But for those tunners who do heel strike, who do over-pronate, suffer from knee pain, hip pain etc.. there is some merit in trying it once.
Perhaps you try backward running just once and your quads will know what sore is. Do 2 or 3 laps of a track. I have been running over 20 years, and no i don't do long runs but only since i have incorporated backward running have my shins really felt like they've been worked. My quads feel fantastic and i don;t need to do long runs to achieve that if that's what it takes. But as anyone should know forward running only really works the hams. Yeah sure longer runs will have an impact and everyone is different.