Learn to love running.
The past few articles I shared my experience and love- hate relationship with running as well as the benefits. Now it’s time to show you how easy it is to get going on those marathon goals you may have been putting off for quite some time.
Mark three months on your calendar and schedule a running workout three times per week, every other day (i.e. Monday, Wednesday, Saturday).
Commit to thirty minutes. No more, no less.
Warm up five minutes. Start every running workout with five minutes of walking to prepare your body for the demands of running. Start out at an easy effort and progress to a purposeful walking pace by the end of the five minutes.
Run and walk by your body. Alternate running until you hear your breath, and walking until you catch your breath for a total of 20 minutes. No formulas or intervals—run by your body and breath. If you’re like me, you may start out with 15 to 20 seconds of running and 2 to 3 minutes of walking until you catch your breath. No worries. That may be where your body is at fitness-wise right now. Go with it, tune into your body, and avoid pushing to go longer.
The next workout may be close to the same as well. But a few weeks down the road, that 15 seconds will grow to 30 or 45 seconds or even a minute, and the time it takes to catch your breath will drop. That’s when it starts to get fun, because you feel the difference as you go.
Stick with 20 minutes. Keep the total time of the running portion of the workout to 20 minutes until you build up to running 20 minutes total. That is, maintain the total time of the workout and allow your body time to adapt to the demands of running until you go farther. You’ll recover faster, enjoy the workout a lot more, and progress to running more efficiently. It may take you several months to run 20 minutes, but once you’re there, you’ll be able to add on more time. (25, 30, 35 minutes…)
Finish happy. Let’s face it: If it hurts, the chance of us repeating the activity again are slim to none. When you stick with a plan that is based on your body and avoid pushing for a certain time or pace, you end up finishing happy. And when you’re happy, you want to do it again and again. Running happiness leads to consistency and develops into habit.
Be the tortoise, not the hare. Keep your running effort easy – this will become habit over time. In other words, don’t try to break the world record out there, keep it easy and one step above your fastest walking pace.
Finish with a five-minute cooldown. Invest five minutes to cooling down and gradually bringing your body back to its resting state. Like the warmup, it bridges the gap between running and reality and aids in the recovery process.
Run to infinity and beyond! As the weeks go by, you’ll notice being able to run longer and cover more distance. Eventually you’ll be able to run all twenty minutes! When that day comes, give yourself a high five, and begin to progress your running time by adding five minutes to your workout every 2-3 weeks. For instance, running 25 minutes three times per week for 2-3 weeks and then progressing to 30 minutes. You can also add five minutes to one or two of the workouts per week and take your time as you progress.
Tune into your body along the way. It’s the best coach you’ll ever have.
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