Starting a Running Program

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Cold weather running

With gyms closing due to COVID-19, the time has never better to seek out a new, anti-social work-out routine (no offense, introverted runners!).  Group exercise is officially out this spring.  If you want learn the nuts and bolts of starting a running program, no worries, we have it all laid out for you.  All you need to start is a decent pair of running shoes, preferably less than 2 years or 500 miles old.  

The first thing you should do is simply get active.  That's all it takes!  The best way to start is by engaging in a regular walking program. Start by walking three to four times a week for 15-20 minutes (unless being cooped up inside drives you to walk every day).

After two to four weeks of walking, increase your mileage walking or start to add in running when you feel ready. An easy way to transition to running is alternating between walking one minute and running one minute. A good starting running pace is one where it takes about the one minute walking break for you to catch your breath. Once you progress to running, take it slowly and don’t push through pain, or you will have to stop your activity to prevent injury as your body acclimates to the impact of repetitive foot strikes.  Eventually you will no longer need to take walking breaks, as you extend your consecutive running minutes.  Before long, you may just start looking for the next 5K or 10K to run once US civilization returns to normal.

It’s also a good idea to mix in other forms of exercise alongside running, such as biking, swimming, Pilates, yoga, or strength training to prevent overuse injuries and meet all of your body's training needs. Remember, there is no one perfect exercise for all of us.  The best exercise is the one you enjoy and will continue to enjoy over time.  Some people do start out not really liking running or never dreaming they would become a "runner," and grow to like it .  And for other people, running is just not their thing.  The most important concept in times like these is to take a break from media of all types and change your scenery.  Running is just one way to be active, get outside, relax and de-stress, and burn a few calories.  Becoming active by starting any kind of exericse, including walking, will give you the confidence to put your best foot forward whatever future health and wellness goals you pursue.