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Spring Forward and Run Outside

Daylight savings time hit last week and we set our clocks ahead. Spring is in the air and many of us have cabin fever. Do you feel like getting out for a run? What if you’ve never run before? Starting a running program involves a bit more than buying a pair of running shoes on sale. You should begin slowly, and ease into it to prevent injuries, and to build a great fitness habit.

Starting to Run for First Timers
If you’re new to running, you should ease into it to prevent injuries, and also to raise your enjoyment level. We all love to succeed in life. If you start a running program slowly, you’re less likely to burn out early.
  • If you have access to an athletic track, it’s a great way to measure your progress. If you’re not near a track, running in your neighborhood is just fine. Try to take the same route each time so you can feel your successes building. If you’re a little overweight, or out of shape, it can take you up to one month to run one mile. Here’s how:
  • Always start by warming up for 10-15 minutes. This includes gentle stretching as well as walking.
  • Day 1 – Run ¼ of a lap (just less than one city block) and then walk ¾ of a lap (about four blocks). Repeat this four times and you will have gone one mile.
  • Finish your run with a stretch.
  • Day 2 – No running this day, but cross training is fine.
  • On days 3 and 5, repeat the run/walk pattern.
  • On days 4 and 6, rest or cross train.
  • Day 7 – Total rest.
On week two, increase your running distance to ½ lap around the track (about two blocks) and ½ track walk. Repeat four times.

By week three you should be able to run ¾ of a track lap and walk ¼ lap. Repeat four times.

Week four you should be able to run one mile (4 laps) on days one, three and five, with rest on the other days.

As the weeks progress, add small distances at a time. You could add just ½ mile per week or one mile per week if you’re feeling strong. Listen to your body!

Starting to Run for Lapsed Runners
It’s a mistake to think you can jump right in at your former running distance. Although you’re not a beginning runner, you too could benefit from a running schedule. Here’s a few tips:
  • Run with a partner. Find a buddy and talk while you’re running. If you can’t carry on a conversation, you may be pushing yourself too hard or too fast. Like a beginning runner, you should ease back into it.
  • Sign up for a charity run. Many charity runs have a workout schedule to make sure you’re ready to go by the date of the event. And besides – it’s a charity!
  • Don’t get discouraged. Keep at it and increase your distance by about 10% per week. It could take you 6-8 weeks to get back in the groove.
  • Cross-train for additional fitness. Biking, spin class, swimming, weights and roller-blading are just a few of the options.
If you’re running to burn calories, there are other activities which are high calorie burners. For example, a 155-pound person can burn 372 calories in 30 minutes of jumping rope. That’s assuming you could jump rope for 30 minutes!

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