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So You Want to Start Running?

August 30, 2016

kristi headshotPost submitted by:
Fitness over 40 Team Blogger, Strong Momma Kristi

 

Kristi Running

 

A lot of my friends say, “you’re good at running because it comes naturally to you.” Or they ask the same questions, “how do you run without stopping, do you get tired,” and my favorite, “don’t you hate running?”

Well friends, running does not come naturally to me or most others I know; unless you are Usain Bolt and well, he is just magical. And yes I get tired and of course I don’t hate it or I wouldn’t be doing it. I’ve turned a few of my friends on to running and have helped a few get back into it after a long break. Running is the easy part; staying committed may take more of an effort.

I’m here to share a few easy steps to get those feet moving in the right direction.

Set a goal

Setting a date to run a 5K can help. Find a race near you with a date of at least two months in the future. No sense trying to put undue pressure on yourself, that will only be defeating. I would suggest a fun run or one that may have a finisher medal. The fun runs tend to have a lot of run/walk folks and they seem to be much more accepting of anyone that is “slower” than them (someone who may “get in their way” during the run.) Also, during a fun run there is certainly no pressure or guilt if you must stop and walk. The fun people tend to be in the rear of the race anyway! The races with a finisher medal give you a reward for all the hard work you have done the last few months. Wear it proudly!

Start low and slow

I always suggest to new runners to download an app to their phone such as Couch to 5K or Hal Higdon’s apps. There are several similar ones, so don’t feel tied to these. They produce the same results, but basically they have you do the following:

Start by getting a good warm up in. Do some dynamic stretching. Myself, I started by running every other day. It took longer to reach my goal, but not putting undue stress on my joints and shins was better in the long run. The first day try and run 30-60 seconds, followed by one minute of walking. Don’t just stop in your tracks, keep moving. Continue this for 15 minutes. For the next several runs, try this run/walk method for 15-20 minutes. On my off days, I generally weight train and ride the bike. While it is not essential to running a 5k, keeping everything working and strong is important to overall health. Make sure to incorporate one rest day per week, minimum.

The second week, lets move up to 20-25 total minutes of running/walking (1-2 minutes of running followed by 30 seconds of walking). If you feel you can run more and walk less, by all means attempt it, but keep in mind you are building a base and the first few weeks are important.

For the next several weeks you should be increasing the length of your run intervals and decreasing the walking ones. By week six, you should be to the point where you can run 20-25 minutes without stopping. Let us not worry about speed at this point, the object again is to build a base; you can build speed later. Good rule of thumb is run until fatigued, then slowly jog or run until recovered at this point.

By week 7-8 you should all but eliminate the walking segments of your workouts, as well as you should be able to run 30 minutes without stopping.

Week 8 – run your race, girl! Have fun with it, don’t hold yourself to a certain finishing time; especially if this is your first race. So many different things can affect race times; this is your first race and you need to have fun with it. Having fun is the way to keep running and to love running forever!

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