Maybe you haven’t run since your grade school gym class. Or only bust a sweat when you see the express bus pulling away from the curb.
As long as you can walk for 30 minutes, you can train to run (or jog/walk) a 5k or even a 4-mile race in as little as six weeks.
But before you head out for your first training session, let’s set some ground rules:
- Get checked out by your doctor if you’re older than age 40, more than 20 pounds overweight, or have a known health risk.
- Invest in a good pair of running shoes that are comfortable and designed for the way you run (more about that in a minute). Worn-out or uncomfortable shoes are the leading causes of injury.
- Pay attention to your body while training, if you’re tired, rest. If you’re in pain, stop.
If you don’t want your feet to fail when running, make sure you’re giving them every opportunity to succeed. That requires knowing how your body moves when you run so you can pick the right shoes and cushioning you need. Key factors are your foot arch and how much you pronate, which is the degree that your foot rolls inward, outward, or is neutral as it strikes the ground.
You can determine this easily by getting a pan of water and stepping into it with your bare feet. Then, step on a brown paper bag or paper towel, step off and observe the footprint you make.
If much of the sole of your foot is visible, you are an over pronator. Runners with flat feet typically over pronate and do best with a motion-control shoe to control pronation.
If only the outside edge of your sole shows, then you under pronate. Runners with high arches usually under pronate and may benefit from a neutral-cushioned shoe that allows a more natural foot motion.
If the footprint looks well balanced, you probably have an efficient neutral strike. Runners with a normal arch fall into this category and should try shoes that offer moderate pronation control.
And, no matter which running shoe you choose, make sure to jog a few minutes in them in the store prior to buying to make sure they’re comfortable.
Now, let’s lace up and get going.
Monday – walk 5 minutes (warm-up), run 1-2 minutes followed by walking 2 minutes. Repeat this run/walk sequence 8-9 more times; finish with a 5-minute walk (cool down).
Tuesday – walk for 30 minutes at a comfortable yet brisk pace.
Wednesday – repeat Monday’s workout.
Thursday – repeat Tuesday’s workout.
Friday – walk 4 minutes (warm-up), run 2 minutes followed by walking 1 minute. Repeat this run/walk sequence 8 more times; finish with a 4-minute walk (cool down).
Saturday – walk 4 minutes (warm-up), run 3 minutes followed by walking 1 minute. Repeat this run/walk sequence 7 more times; finish with a 4-minute walk (cool down).
Sunday – rest or walk 30 minutes (your choice).
Next week, we’ll highlight what foods to eat and what ones to avoid prior to running. We’ll also introduce the second installment of our training program.