Start Running

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Too many people have been turned off of running simply by

trying to start off too fast. Their bodies rebel, and they wind up miserable,

wondering why anyone would possibly want to do this to themselves.

You should ease into your running program gradually. In

fact, a beginner's program should be less of a running regimen than a walking

and jogging program. The idea is to transform from non-runner to runner to getting

you running three miles (or 5K) on a regular basis in just two months.

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It's easy to get impatient, and you may feel tempted to skip

ahead in the program, but hold yourself back. Don't try to do more, even if you

feel you can. If, on the other hand, you find the program too strenuous, just

stretch it out. Don't feel pressured to continue faster than you're able.

Repeat weeks if needed and move ahead only when you feel you're ready.

A few minutes each week

Each session should take about 20 or 30 minutes, three times

a week. That just happens to be the same amount of moderate exercise

recommended by numerous studies for optimum fitness. This program will get you

fit. (Runners who do more than this amount are doing it for more than fitness,

and before long you might find yourself doing the same as well).

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Be sure to space out these three days throughout the week to

give yourself a chance to rest and recover between efforts. And don't worry

about how fast you're going. Running faster can wait until your bones are

stronger and your body is fitter. For now focus on gradually increasing the

time or distance you run.

Run for time, or run for distance

There are two ways to follow this program, to measure your

runs by time or by distance. Either one works just as well, choose the option

that seems easiest for you to keep track of. If you go with the distance

option, and you are not using a track to measure the distances, just estimate.

It's not important to have the distances absolutely exact.

Before setting out, make sure to precede each session with a

five-minute warm-up walk or jog. Be sure to stretch both before and after.

WEEK 1

Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of

jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

WEEK 2

Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of

jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

WEEK 3

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of

the following:

  • Jog

    200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk

    200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog

    400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk

    400 yards (or three minutes)

WEEK 4

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog

    1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk

    1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog

    1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk

    1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog

    1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk

    1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog

    1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

WEEK 5

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog

    1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk

    1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog

    1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk

    1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog

    1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

WEEK 6

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog

    1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk

    1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog

    3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
  • Walk

    1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog

    1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

WEEK 7

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25

minutes).

WEEK 8

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28

minutes).

WEEK 9

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30

minutes).

And now you can officially call yourself a runner.

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