At WellWay we believe that your exercise plan should produce results, but should also include activities that you genuinely enjoy — this will make you more likely to stick with it! If you are curious to explore running as an option for exercise in your overall fitness plan, use these four pro tips to try running on for size.
Step 1 – Gear Up with the Right Pair of Shoes
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the running gear out there; the clothes, the hats, the energy bars, and gels. But when it comes down to it, the most important thing you need is the right pair of running shoes. In order to find the perfect fit for you, we recommend visiting a running specialty shop where the experts can help match a shoe to your foot and movement patterns (locally in the Twin Cities, we recommend TC Running, Run N Fun, and The Lakes Running Co.) It is best to keep your new running shoes dedicated to your running and run / walk workouts only so they maintain their support.
Step 2 – Walk Before You Run
Feeling comfortable with a 30-minute walk builds the foundation for a running program. If walking 30 minutes multiple days per week feels easy, you’re ready to move on to a run/walk approach! If not, start first by building up your walking duration. Once you feel comfortable here, move to step 3.
Step 3 – Start with Run/Walk Intervals
Building a foundation is key to your running program. It’s a common misconception that you should run the entire time for every workout. To build a solid foundation, alternate short running segments with walk breaks.
Start with a 4 week plan to build up your ability to run for longer periods of time. You will want to plan on a 30 minute workout 3-4 days per week.
Week 1 Workouts:
Run 1 minute / Walk 4 minutes (repeat for 6 times for 30 minutes total)
Week 2 Workouts:
Run 2 minutes / Walk 3 minutes (repeat for 6 times for 30 minutes total)
Week 3 Workouts:
Run 3 minutes / Walk 2 minutes (repeat for 6 times for 30 minutes total)
Week 4 Workouts:
Run 4 minutes / Walk 1 minute (repeat for 6 times for 30 minutes total)
While many new runners move through one phase each week, you can take it faster or more slowly based on your current fitness level. After you reach a 4-minute run / 1-minute walk ratio, continue increasing your run segments while maintaining a 1-minute walk break as long as you need (or want) to include walking as part of your plan. Once you have reached your desired run/walk ratio or feel comfortable running 30 minutes straight, you can start to increase your total workout duration past 30 minutes.
Using the plan above, many runners feel ready to tackle their first 5k (3.1 mile run) within 8 weeks, either as a steady run or run/walk. Whether you choose a virtual 5K or an in-person event, this milestone is something to celebrate!
Step 4 – Let Yourself Recover
In order to recover from your new running workouts, it’s important to keep your stress level balanced. Healthy nutrition, adequate quality sleep and stress management practices all play a key part in keeping you healthy and moving forward in your training. Make sure to listen to your body and take rest days.