Reader Question: Becoming a Runner

February 29, 2012

PhotobucketI am honored to say that I received a private message from one of my readers asking for tips on breaking into running. She is an avid walker but can’t seem to take herself to the next level and wanted advice.

I wouldn’t qualify myself as a runner per se. I do jog, and can jog about 2-3 miles (very slow pace here) at a time, but it’s taken me a long time to get there, and I’m still not where I’d like to be. However, I can tell you what I’ve done to get to where I’m at currently.

I started by running intervals–which I still do a lot of. The Couch to 5k plan is a very popular one for teaching you to train in intervals. The idea is that you simply start out by walking, and slowly work in jogging spurts–focusing on time not distance–until your body is ready for more. This article from WedMD refers to it as wogging. Basically it’s a gentle way to push your body’s limits over time. You’ll slowly start to walk less and jog more, until you can jog consistently.

As I said at the beginning, though, I’m still not where I’d like to be in terms of my abilities to run. I tend to reach a mental block and stop even when I know my body is capable of more.  I actually have a plan to consult a higher power (think personal trainer, not gods) in the near future to see if I can’t make a runner out of myself, and I also think I need new shoes–but that’ll be a different post.

The most important thing when trying to make the transition to running is to pay attention to your body. If you push yourself too far too fast you’ll end up with injuries or burn yourself out. Just take it slow and be patient with yourself. If you consistently run intervals for a couple of weeks I think you’ll be surprised by just how quickly your body will adjust.

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