So you think you can run?

park

OK, you have just decided to quit smoking or decided to quit eating junk food or both.  You are feeling good. Perfect.  Then, five minutes go by and you really don’t know what to do with all the extra time on your hands.  Nail biting? Picking your nose? That takes about 4-5 minutes, max.

You figure that running might be a good idea, and it is.  The problem is that for the past ten years the closest you have come to a run has been the 100m dash to the corner shop for chips.  Or perhaps, you figure that you are not too overweight and are confident that if you went for a run everything would be great.  Regardless of how you perceive yourself, there is only one way to find out.

Running is pretty simple and you might wonder why on earth you would want to read an article about it.  At a basic level, that is true.  Just get up and go out and run till you get tired and walk back home. Do that every day till you feel like a champ.

However, for us older and wiser guys there are a few things we should do to get into the swing of things.  Experience has probably taught most of us that it is good to have a plan.  We don’t have to follow it; we just need to have it. every day till you feel like a champ.

Before Heading Out

Health: Take any health issues you might have into consideration and talk to your doctor about them. It is probably a good idea to talk to your doctor anyway, though chances are that your doctor has been telling you to do this for a while now.

Shoes: Get a good pair.  You can read tons of reviews and they won’t mean anything to you right now, and they shouldn’t.  Find a shop that can perform some metrics on your foot to get the right one for you.  You’ll probably pay a bit more for shoes at this store but it really makes a difference.  I had to stop running for over 2 years once because of damage to my knees from improper shoes.  If you cannot find a shop like that, I would suggest you get a heavily cushioned running shoe, especially if you could stand to lose a few kilos.

Clothes:  Just wear

what is comfortable now at the beginning, no need to buy spandex tights just yet.  There is a place for good athletic gear but now you should focus on comfort.  Wear enough clothes so that you are a little bit cold when you walk out the door.  I don’t need to get into detail, use common sense.

A watch: You need one to keep track of how long you are running.  Later on, a cool sports watch could be in order if you are like me and are into stats.

On the move

Walk out the door and head to the closest park.  Since no one had anything better to do with their lives until the moment you passed by them, everyone will stare at you, just ignore the stares.  They are just jealous.  Or maybe they aren’t staring and it’s in your head.  Either way, start walking now at a brisk pace for 5 minutes.

Do the following today and every other day for a week:

Walk at a brisk pace for 5 minutes
Jog 2 minutes
Walk at a brisk pace for 5 minutes
Jog 2 minutes
Walk at a brisk pace for 5 minutes
Jog 2 minutes
Walk at a brisk pace for 5 minutes
Jog 2 minutes
Cool down and walk slowly for 5 minutes

At the end of the week congratulate yourself on a job well done.  For the next couple of weeks follow this schedule (leave a day between runs) and you will be able to jog for 30 mins without a break:

Week

Day 1

Day 2

Day3

Reps

2

Walk 4 / Jog 3

Walk 4 / Jog 3

Walk 4 / Jog 3

4 times

3

Walk 3/ Jog 6

Walk 3 / Jog 6

Walk 3 / Jog 6

3 times

4

Walk 2 / Jog 8

Walk 2 / Jog 8

Walk 2 / Jog 8

3 times

5

Walk 2 / Jog 10

Walk 2 / Jog 10

Walk 2 / Jog 10

3 times

6

Walk 2 / Jog 13

Walk 2 / Jog 13

Walk 2 / Jog 13

2 times

7

Walk 1 / Jog 15

Walk 2 / Jog 15

Walk 2 / Jog 15

2 times

8

Jog 30 minutes

Jog 30 minutes

Jog 30 minutes

There are lots of programs and apps with a similar schedule like the couch to 5K® or this one at Runner’s World

I hate stretching, I think almost everyone does, and whoever says they like it, is lying.  And like most boring and annoying things, it is good for you and you should really put some effort into doing it after every run especially if you are over 40.  Try and recall what you did in high school.  Bend and try to touch your toes.  Don’t bounce, just steady and when you feel a comfortable pull, hold that position for a while.  Stretch your quads while standing my using one hand to keep your balance on a bench or tree and holding your ankle as your bend your knee back.  Hold that for a few.  Then push against a tree and stretch out your calves, you know how to do it I’m sure.

Pretty basic stuff.  When you start to run more and more you will need to do more elaborate stretching to help keep injuries at bay.  If you are a masochist and want to do a more complicated stretching routine from now check this or this sites for some nice routines.

In a nutshell..

That is how you start running.  You will probably feel sore the first week and often after you increase your distance run.  If you feel any unnatural pain, a pain in the joint, something that is not muscle soreness, take a few days off.  No one ever listens to this, but you should.

Once you can run 30 minutes at a time you have accomplished quite a bit.  You can do that 4-5 times a week for the rest of your life and you will have pretty much covered all the cardio work you need to be considered a healthy person. For me, that taste of running for half an hour at a time just made me want to run more.

In the meantime, you might want to start thinking about strength training and your diet.

One thought on “So you think you can run?

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