So I signed-up for my first official race this year! Nothing fancy, just a 10k in a local race event, but it’s pretty cool because my team is raising money for a local project where they teach kids about food and how to cook, so it’s a really good cause!
I haven’t jogged much this winter but I did manage to run several times in the past few months, I also squeezed in a few hot yoga classes and a handful of boxing classes, as well as going snowboarding once so far. So, although it’s not as much as I would’ve liked to (isn’t it always the case?! haha), I don’t feel too bad about it. I think winter is a good time to slow down a bit anyway, rest, and recoup our energies for spring and summer just around the corner.
My race is at the end of April, so I’ll have enough time to build-up to 10k again. I did manage to do a few 6-7k during the winter and that wasn’t bad at all.
For those of you who are not runners and wondering if you can do it, the answer is: Yes! You can! I thought I’d share what I learned when I took my “Learn to run” class at a local running store. It really is easy, anyone can do it (I ran with elderly people, obese people, couch potatoes, and the likes — including myself!), and you start with only 20-30 minutes, so it doesn’t take much time at all. Obviously, I’m sure there’s more to say than just these 5 tips, but you know me! I don’t like to waste time and I go straight to the main point! haha
1. Make sure that your whole body is going forward, including your feet and knees, that they are not tilted to one side or another (that could hurt your knees and hips long-term). Keep your shoulders up but not tight. You want your body feeling “loose”.
2. Try to put the weight of your step near the ball of your foot (middle-to-front area) and not on your heels. This will also help absorb a lot of the pressure instead of going to your ankles/knees/hips. I’ve personally tested this myself and I can tell you that it works! Sometimes I run on my heels without knowing and then eventually my knee starts to hurt, so I continue running on my toes (pretty much like running on your tippy-toes) and the pain usually goes away within 5-10 minutes. This is a really good tip, especially for later if you start running races.
3. Go as slow as you need. No rush! Better to start slowly and build-up your endurance over time. It’ll come.
4. Run 2-3 times per week. Depending on your fitness level, you might get away with once a week, but it will catch-up with you sooner or later and you won’t be able to keep going. Regular running is the key, and 2-3 times per week seems to be the minimum, especially at the very beginning, it’s important to build a solid base of endurance.
5. Walk-Run-Walk rotations: This is how I learned to run and I still run this way, even in races (I might skip a few walking breaks though because of extra adrenaline during events). It is apparently the best way to run without injuries, and this has worked for me so far! I’ve been running on-and-off for about 4-5 years, including 2 half-marathons in the past 2 years, and so far, so good. No injuries!
You can go at your own pace, and if you need to repeat the rotations for more than 1 week, that’s fine too. You can achieve the same goal over 15 weeks instead of 12. That’s totally fine. It’s better to go slowly than too fast.
Here is a simple, yet efficient running program to learn to run:
Week 1: Walk 2 minutes. Run 1 minute. Repeat 7 times. x 3 days
Week 2: Walk 1 minute. Run 1 minute. Repeat 10 times. x 3 days
Week 3: Walk 1 minute. Run 2 minutes. Repeat 7 times. x 3 days
Week 4: Walk 1 minute. Run 3 minutes. Repeat 5 times. x 3 days
Week 5: Walk 1 minute. Run 4 minutes. Repeat 5 times. x 3 days
Week 6: Walk 1 minute. Run 5 minutes. Repeat 5 times. x 3 days
Week 7: Walk 1 minute. Run 5 minutes. Repeat 5 times. x 3 days
Week 8: Walk 1 minute. Run 6 minutes. Repeat 4 times. x 3 days
Week 9: Walk 1 minute. Run 7 minutes. Repeat 4 times. x 3 days
Week 10: Walk 1 minute. Run 8 minutes. Repeat 4 times. x 3 days
Week 11: Walk 1 minute. Run 9 minutes. Repeat 3 times. x 3 days
Week 12: Walk 1 minute. Run 10 minutes. Repeat 3 times. x 3 days
There you go! In 12 weeks, you can go from couch potato to running 5k (or close to). With this program, you’ll improve slowly but surely, in a fun way of building your endurance. Next thing you know: you’re a runner!
If you continue running, the rotations usually stop at 1 min walking/10 minutes running, you just add more rotations and run for longer. You can also work on your speed, but we can talk about this another time. 😉
With spring just around the corner, it’s time to get off the couch, get our running shoes out of the closet and move! 🙂
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Great tips! Running can be so intimidating when it’s something you’re not used to doing. I started running several years ago using a 10k run/walk program and it was great to help me build endurance.
Rose | The Clean Dish says
My friend just started running and the only way I could convince her to give running a chance was to do intervals! I love running intervals, it feels so effortless! Great article – these are good tips for beginners (and advanced runners!) 🙂
I agree! Intervals do make it effortless (for the most part. haha)! I hope your friend got the running bug!
Thanks for stopping by my blog 🙂