Thursday, August 6, 2015

Become a Runner in 8 Weeks!

If you've been wanting to start running but just don't know how, this 8 week training program will get you off on the right foot. After about 2 months, you should be able to run 30 minutes (about 2 miles) at a slow, relaxed pace. It's a simple, progressive program that begins with more walking than running, then gradually evolves into more running than walking. 

Once you are able to run 2 miles nonstop, you can continue to increase your running intervals until you're at the distance and pace you want to be at.  Research has shown that this is enough to help you lose or maintain weight, and improve many other important health markers (i.e., your cholesterol, blood pressure, and insulin response).

So, don't be intimidated by these programs. The first 2 miles are the hardest you will ever run, even when you're a seasoned runner. I run 5-7 miles most days and have been doing that for 10 years or so. Even now, I have the hardest time during my runs up until mile 3. 

Here are four key points to consider before you begin the 8-Week Program.

1. If you are over 40, not accustomed to any exercise, or more than 20 pounds overweight, consult with your physician. Unless you have a known health risk, your doctor will probably encourage you to begin a run-walk program, but it's always wise to check.

2. Schedule your workouts. You won't find time for them unless you make time for them. Put them in your phone calendar, computer, daily appointment planner, on the front of your refrigerator, or wherever else you keep your schedule and make them NON-NEGOTIABLE.

3. Expect bad days. Everyone has them, but they pass quickly, and the next workout is often better than the previous one. So stick with the program. Some days you won't want to run. Get out there anyway and do what you can.

4. Don't rush. In the fitness world, rushing leads to injuries and discouragement. Be patient, and go slow. The goal is to reach 30 minutes of continuous running, not to set any records getting there.


Training tip: To fuel up for your workout, have a piece of fruit or protein bar about 2 hours before you leave.  If you regularly workout and do fasted cardio, have some pre-workout and at least part of a bar. An hour later, drink 8 ounces of water to help keep you fully hydrated during your run. 


Training tip: Always walk 2 to 3 minutes for a warm up before you begin your workout, and walk another 2 to 3 minutes as a cool down afterward. Don't stretch before running when your muscles are tight. Save it for after your workout when your muscles are already warm and follow up with more stretching in the evening.


Training tip: Breathing is KEY when it comes to running endurance.  Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth and keep this consistent through your run. You'll avoid losing your breath and it helps with cramps as well.


Training tip: When it's hot out, run in the early morning or late evening if you can.  The heat and humidity will dehydrate you faster and make you more lethargic so don't be disappointed if you run a lot slower and walk more on hotter days.


 Training tip: On occasion, skip running/walking and do a different type of workout instead. Bike for 30 to 40 minutes, try the elliptical trainer in a gym, swim, lift weights, or join a circuit weight-training class. The break from running will refresh you, and you'll learn new skills while developing new muscles.


Training tip: Running is a great way to build strong bones, but you also need plenty of calcium--1,000 milligrams a day, or 1,500 milligrams if you're over age 50. Drink a glass or two of low-fat milk per day, or enjoy a cup or two of low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese. Dark green, leafy vegetables such as kale or spinach are another great calcium source.


Training tip: Beginning runners often develop shin splints or sore knees. These pains should pass quickly if you treat them immediately with ice packs after your workouts. Put a bag of frozen peas on your shins or knees for 15 minutes. If the pain persists, take several days off before beginning your training program again.


Training tip: If you can help it depending on the city or area you live in, try not to do your workouts on a busy street or during rush-hour traffic. Find low-traffic streets where any exhaust will be dispersed quickly. Ideally, try to run on greenbelts, parks, on bike trails, around reservoirs, etc. 

Like the saying goes, "Success may come quickly to you as a beginning runner, but the race is never won. Run for life."

Via Runner's World 

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