Running for Beginners (Like Me!)

Since I’ve started running, I’d gotten questions from friends asking about how I got started and what kinda programs I used to get me started.

When I first decided to run a 5k, I used the Couch to 5k program. It’s a 9 week program, broken down into 3 weekly sessions that start with splitting your time between walking and jogging. Eventually, as the weeks progress, you do more jogging than walking. It’s a good way to slowly get yourself acclimated to jogging, Being that I was in such bad shape when I began this program, I didn’t think I could do all that the program asked of me in 9 weeks. So I expanded it to about 16 weeks. I can’t remember exactly, but I believe what I did was take the first couple of weeks, and expand them so that I was walk/jogging about 5 times a week. For example, where Week 1 Day 1 calls for 60 min walking and 90 min jogging for a total of 20 minutes, I would do that ‘day’ twice a week before moving to the next ‘day’ in the program. Also, because I felt as though I wasn’t in shape enough to do 90 secs of jogging, I think I started with a 60 walk/60 jog ratio and eventually built up to the 60/90 session. The program served as a good framework for me and I just customized it to a realistic program for myself.

Once I conquered the 5k, I looked towards my next challenge…the 10k. By that point in time I had become familiar with Runner’s World and they have a training program called “Smart Coach” that I used to plan out my 10k training program. By that point in time, I was accustomed to a 3 day running schedule and would cross-train/weight train/rest on my non-running days. The Smart Coach takes your time from your latest race and gives you a program based upon the distance you want to run and how intensely you desire to train. It also offers different programs based on how much time you have to train for the race. I love this program. It even gives you speed workout routines and incorporates tempo runs into your program. Now, I haven’t used either of those – I run at my normal pace and that’s just that for me, but I would like to begin to incorporate that kinda stuff eventually.

When I look back…I could have never imagined that I would go from not being able to jog for 90 secs, to jogging for almost hours at a time. From not being able to jog a mile, to jogging a mile as a warm up for a longer distance. But it is possible. For everyone. Yep, even you. Because if I can do it, I KNOW you can do it too. All it takes is a little patience as you get accustomed to finding your stride and (if you’re anything like me) the slight embarrassment that comes from being a big person jogging. But you know what? Screw it! At least you’re DOING something. Which can’t be said for a lot of folks. And at the end of the day, it’s your journey, your race. Do it at your own pace, in your own time, and when you finish be proud at what you’ve been able to accomplish.

Till next time…

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