Running For Total Beginners – A Guide To First Steps – Part 2
How Often Should You Run?
This will depend upon a variety of factors. How much available time do you have to run? What are your other commitments? How driven and motivated are you? What are your running and exercise goals? What is your exercise history and background? Have you been blessed with the right genetic make up?
In your first few weeks you should be aiming to walk or walk/run at least 2 to 3 times per week, building to 3 to 4 times after 2 to 3 weeks. At the same time you’ll be walking for longer, faster and even trying a few jog sections. After a month of your running program you should be aiming to be exercising 4 to 5 days per week one week and perhaps 3 the next. If you are seeking real running improvement and fitness gains then by 8 weeks into your program you should be aiming to run daily with some rest days.
When you start walk/run or running each exercise session may last for 15 to 40 minutes, yet, as you build up your runs can take 30, 50, 70 minutes and more! Remember though that a little exercise each day, even if only 15minutes, is better than nothing at all.
Be Confident! Everyone Starts Somewhere
Don’t try to run before you can walk! Once you’ve made the decision to start your running career – don’t put it off! Everyone starts somewhere. Most people are not able to begin a running program with immediate running! Progressively building up the frequency, intensity and duration of exercise until regular steady running is possible is the best and most effective strategy.
Everybody is different so the rate at which progression takes place depends upon a variety of factors including history of exercise participation, present fitness level, body shape and body weight, genes, diet, and the amount of time and effort invested into the walking/running program. This is not to say that friends cannot start and work through a program together, indeed they can and should! Having a ‘running buddy’ can make it easier to get out of the house and complete your daily dose of activity whilst being social at the same time.
Try this “30 days to 30minutes” walk/run schedule. It’s designed to get you going from scratch – whatever your ability and fitness level – and guide you towards being able to run without stopping for half an hour.
Each day doesn’t have to run consecutively. You might choose to have one day off in between each of the days, so after 60 days you’ll be running non-stop for 30minutes. You might find as you get fitter you don’t need a day off and can start to walk/run every day. Sometimes, you may need 2 or 3 days break. Don’t worry. It’s flexible to fit with everyone’s needs, although we wouldn’t recommend having a week between each activity session. It’s best to aim for 2 to 3 times a week in the early stages and build up as you progress. Choose the days and the time of day you exercise to fit in with your schedule. For example, Day 1 might be a Sunday, day 2 a Wednesday, Day 3, Friday, Day 4, Sunday, etc. Remember, you can take as much time as you need to progress. Everyone is different and will progress at different rates. If you’d like to repeat any of the days then do so or step back a couple of days and then move forwards again.
An ‘easy’ walk is the same speed as you’d stroll casually chatting to a friend, a ‘steady’ walk means picking up your speed so that are walking faster with noticeable changes in your breathing rate, it should be a pace where you can still chat – although not as easily! During ‘brisk’ or ‘paced/power’ walking you’ll certainly start to feel out of breath, warmer, and will have to concentrate to talk!
First runs check list:
- Have you got the right footwear?
- Do you know where you are going?
- Have you told someone else where you are going and for how long?
- Have you got your keys to get back in!
- Are you wearing appropriate clothing for your exercise?
- Do you know what do you want to achieve from your effort? It’s important that every time you go out to exercise you have a purpose. This might be to de-stress from your day’s work, to focus on that weight management, to run 10 minutes without stopping.
- Do you know the pace you are going to start at – Walk? Run? Walk/Run combination?
Becoming a successful runner is a mixture of patience and persistence! It doesn’t happen overnight. Physical changes take time, but stick to it and you’ll benefit from improved wellbeing, better health and a fitter, leaner you. You will experience highs and lows in your journey. Enjoy the highs, accept and learn from the lows. Set yourself realistic, challenging, rewarding and achievable targets. Set yourself an aim or a target each time you leave to exercise. Evaluate your progress and be confident in your ability and your new found active lifestyle.
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