» Start Moving

Start Moving

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Got goals. Got gear. Got a schedule. Got a course. Now it’s time to start moving.

Before beginning your running, consider consulting with a physician to help you determine how ready you are to start an exercise program.

Walk Before You Run

Just about everyone can walk. Walking is what we do to get around. Do you think you can walk for 30 minutes? That is where we will start. Three days a week, walk for thirty minutes. You can start walking slowly and build up your speed.

If you want to make your 30 minute walks simple, just walk in some direction for 15 minutes. Then turn around and walk back the same route. As your walking pace becomes faster, you will find the distance you can walk in 30 minutes increases. Keep adjusting your distances to maintain a consistent 30 minute walk.

Walk-Runs

After you are comfortable walking for 30 minutes at a swift pace, try adding a little bit of running during your walks. Don’t push yourself too hard. Run at a comfortable pace every time you feel like it and only as long as you would like. Have fun with this. Think back to when you were a child and you ran all the time.

Add just one or two running intervals to your walks to get started. As you become more comfortable running, increase the number of intervals, the distance, or both. In a few weeks, you may find that you are running most of the 30 minutes.

Keep your running pace slow. As you get more comfortable with running, you will find that the slower your pace, the longer you can run. Most people start out by running too fast. They get frustrated and stop. Slow down to a jog, and you will find yourself running the full 30 minutes in no time.

If you start to feel pain in your feet, ankles, shins, or calves while you are running, stop running and walk instead. The risk of injury is high, and although slowing down to a walk may hurt your pride, it will not cause injuries that put you out of commission for several weeks.

The bottom line is to start moving, but take it slowly. Watch for month-over-month improvement, and don’t be overly aggressive. Running has been around for a very long time. A lot of people have been running for many years. If you have been running for less than a year, you are still a beginner. Lighten up on yourself and plan for slow, gradual improvements in distance and pace.

Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs

Now that you have started moving in a walk-run pattern, you should start developing a warm-up and cool-down routine. Some people advise stretching before and after running. Others only after. My personal preference is to walk for a tenth of a mile as a warm-up, walk for a tenth of a mile as a cool-down, and follow my cool-down walk with stretching for 10 to 15 minutes. Whatever your approach your body will thank you for taking time to warm-up before running and cool down afterward.

Full Steam Ahead

Once you are running the full 30 minutes, you can work on picking up the pace to increase your distance. A great way of doing this is similar to the walk-runs above. Run at your normal pace, but as you feel you are ready, run at a fast pace for short segments in a few sections of your run. Gently increasing the number of speed intervals and the distance of each will greatly improve your speed in a safe way. Continue on to the next section for more details about pace.