In the Beginning

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The beginning of the year always jolts people into action to improve their lives or to set goals they would like to achieve by years end. Many of these goals are health related such as eating better, losing weight, and exercising on a regular basis.

We are three weeks into the year, or twenty-one days. How many people have been able to continue on their journey to a healthier life style? I’m not sure, but I know the gym is starting to dwindle down to the regulars. It takes twenty-one days to form a habit, so if you have made it this far you are well on your way to achieving your goal. The hardest part is getting started.

A nice way to get your self-motivated is to pick a 5k (3.1 miles) run in your city a few months out and then work yourself up to the three miles over twelve weeks. Even in the winter, there are 5k’s here and there, especially if there are any holidays coming up. If you can’t find one, don’t let that stop you from starting.

What do you need to get started?

Don’t go out and spend a lot of money when you first start running. The one purchase I always recommend is shoes. Get some good running shoes from a local running store. They can help you decide which shoes are best for you. Before you go, know that good running shoes are kinda expensive ($ 120 on average).

The other important piece of equipment is clothing. They don’t need to be from the running store. Look around at your local clothing stores for their exercise clothing. Target has a great line of clothing for exercising and it’s not expensive. Having appropriate clothing is important for a few reasons, you want to be able to run comfortably regardless of the weather outside and you don’t want chafing.

That’s it. All you need to start is clothing and shoes.

How do you get started?

There are many beginner programs out there. You want to pick one based upon your fitness level. Of course, you should always check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. If you are overweight and have been inactive for over six months, beginning with walking twenty minutes a day is a perfect starting line for you. Each week try to increase your pace by a few minutes. Once you are comfortable with walking at a quick pace you can move on to a run walk program, which I’ll talk about next.

Start here if you are brand new to running, have not done any exercising in the last six months, and are in reasonable shape, you need to start with a run walk program. Start with walking five minutes and running two minutes. If that’s hard, run one minute and walk four minutes. Continue alternating between walking and running for twenty minutes. As you make progress, you will increase the amount of time you are running and decrease the amount of time you are walking until you are running for the entire twenty minutes. You should start here if you haven’t been running for eight weeks or more due to injury. Once you can do this, move on to the next step.

Okay now you can run twenty minutes without stopping. Finding twenty minutes a day to squeeze in a run is doable for most people. But, what if you don’t want to stop with just twenty minutes? Perhaps running has become your new best friend and you want to spend even more time together.

That’s fantastic! There are a few rules to keep in mind as you increase your miles until you reach your goal. First is never increase your miles by more than ten percent each week. Second is, reduce your miles by twenty to twenty-five percent every fourth week. Following these two simple rules will help you stay injury free as you increase your miles.

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