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Tuesday December 12, 2017
how to get back into running againHow to Get Back into a Running Program

Many of us have running in our history. In fact, we often refer to it as something that we "used to do regularly", rain or shine.

What happened? A once regular, almost religious routine slowly gave way to "life" as other obligations conspired for our time until gradually, we stopped.

Years pass and we go about our lives raising families, building careers and then the inevitable happens,, we begin talking about what we "used to do"

"You wouldn't know it to look at me now,,, but I used to run every day". How far was it, 3 miles, 5 miles,,, perhaps you entered races?

Stop living in the past, there is a primordial drive in you that wants to move. You know it, you can feel it, like an emptiness in the doldrums of daily mundane routine begging to be reawakened. Its time to wake up those slumbering joints, muscles and finally become the person you used to be,, only wiser.

If your ready to finally get back into a running program, here are some simple steps and a graduated running program to help you get back on your feet.

The Basics:

  • Clear it with your doctor. If its been several years (or more) since you ran regularly, check with your health care provider just to be sure.
  • Pick up a pair of comfortable, quality running shoes. Sometimes just spending the bucks for a good pair of shoes is enough incentive to actually get you to use them.
  • You have to walk before you can run. Right now you have nothing to prove, at least not yet so at this time, forget about what you used to do and focus on what you are doing now, and that is walking. By walking I don't mean a treadmill or an elliptical trainer, but walking on the same surface that you will be jogging on. You need to get your feet, joints and muscles used to the feel and texture of the pavement. Treadmills and elliptical trainers are great, but they are low impact. Then again if your program is to be a treadmill runner than by all means go for it, but this program assumes that you will be running outdoors.
  • Run with a partner whenever possible. Running with a partner is safer than running alone and the accountability to someone else is helpful in maintaining commitments.

The Program:

8 Weeks to Becoming a Runner Again

Week 1 - Day 1

As stated above, you have to walk before you can run, especially if you have been off for awhile. So this week is dedicated to walking. At this point walking should be a comfortable,, but faster than usual pace. Try to walk the course that you will be using in your routine at a modestly fast and steady pace. A good walk would be 2 miles in 30 to 35 minuets, this will have you moving at 3.5 to 4 miles an hour.

Week 1 - Day 2

After day one you may be a bit sore and considering that you have nothing to prove, use your best judgment as to weather your body needs time to recover or not. If you are ok, repeat day 1 but if you are sore, don't push yourself and call this a recovery day.

Week 1 - Day 3

Same rules from day 2 apply. If you walked yesterday and are pretty sore today, consider this a recovery day. If not, enjoy the air and get in your miles. You may be tempted to start jogging already but do yourself a favor and get your walking time in first.

Week 1 Continued:

Your goal this week is to get in 3 to 4 good walking sessions. If you can squeeze in more, great, but don't push yourself too hard.

Week 2:
Week 2 is the beginning of the alternating phase. By alternating we mean walk, run, walk, run in succession. Start by walking for 5 minuets at a brisk pace and then jog for a couple of minuets. Repeat this (walk for 5 minuets, jog for 2 minuets) 3 times.

Try to get in 3 walk/run sessions this week.

I Heart JoggingWeek 3:

You will be picking up the intensity a bit this week so be sure that your shoes are up to the task. Start with your 5 minuet brisk walk now followed by a 3 minuet jog. Repeat this walk 5 minute / jog 3 minute split for 3 walk/jog periods. Try to get in 4 sessions this week.

Week 4:

Are you sore? Some muscle soreness is to be expected but joint soreness is another matter. Know the difference.

This week you are going to walk for 3 minuets and jog for 5 minuets. Repeat this process 4 times and try to get in 3 to 4 sessions this week. You don't have to push it, 3 is enough to do the job, a fourth session is only if you can handle it and really want to.

Week 5:

Walk 2 minuets and jog for 7 minuets. You should be starting to get your "wind" back at this point. Try to develop a rhythm in your steps and keep your breath in sync with that rhythm. Repeat this process 3 times and aim for 3 sessions this week.

Week 6:

Walk at a brisk pace for 2 minuets followed by jogging for 9 minuets. Repeat 3 times per session and again shoot for 3 sessions this week.

You should be starting to feel like a "runner" at this point.

Week 7:

Walking less, jogging more, you are already at week 7 and hopefully loving every minute of it.

Your sessions now begin with a 1 minute walk followed by a 10 minute jog. Repeat this process 3 times per session and again aim for 3 sessions this week.

Week 8:

This weeks program starts with a 5 minute walk followed with a 20 minute jog and ends with another 5 minute walk. This is the entire session. Your goal is to get in 3 sessions while increasing the jog time with each session. Aim for a 30 minute run by the end of the week.

Congratulations! Just 8 weeks ago you were living in the past talking about what you used to do, and now you are actually doing it. Don't stop now, You're a Runner!

couple jogging togetherHelpful Tips:

1. Walk/Run with a partner. Commitment and safety

2. Stretch at the beginning and end of every run. Stretch your calves, hamstrings and quads to keep them limber.

3. Stay well hydrated. If its hot, drink 4 to 6 ounces of water half way through your program and be sure to drink at least another 8 ounces of clean water right after

4. Listen to your breathing. You should be able to carry on a modest conversation while jogging. If its hard to catch your breath, return to the walking phase and resume jogging when able.

5. Find your rhythm. Sometimes I get a tune in my head and then run to the beat. Once my feet and breath are in harmony with the rhythm, everything seems to sync and I'm on my way. Perhaps this will work for you too.

Last but not least, eat a healthy diet and get plenty of rest, you'll be glad you did in the long run.

Thanks for reading,

Kerry Dulin

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