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Are you a walker trying to start running?


Posted by Kim N.

Although walking is effective in improving cardiovascular health and maintaining a healthy weight, it's obvious that it's not the most effective method. Running, even at a very slow speed, will increase your heart rate while exercising, causing it to develop even more, and also burn more calories per unit of time. But, if you've never run before, it can be overwhelming. When I'm working with clients who are trying to learn to run, we take baby steps. Outside, we walk from one utility pole to the next, then jog from that utility pole to the next. We first do this walk/jog exercise for 10 minutes, then work out way up to 20 minutes. Once we build up to 20 minutes, we try and jog for 2 utility pole lengths, so we slowly increase the time spent jogging. This is a great way to get comfortable running!
 
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I've been afraid to run long distances for years. "Afraid" may be a strong word, maybe more fearful than afraid. A car accident left me sometimes severe muscle pain in my back, that can shoot down my leg at times. I've always held back on running, afraid I'd cause more problems to my body (it's a permanent injury, but just muscle-no spine injury, luckily.) I've done something like you suggested, and found it helpful, but I'm wondering how I should further that exercise, if at all. I may try what you've done with your clients if I feel like I can handle it, and keep you posted. Thanks!
That's awesome that you're trying it. With your conditioning, and the shooting pain down your leg, I think this plan would work best for you. It allows you to progressively build up your intensity and exercise time. The way to further the exercise, is to simply increase the amount of time that you're jogging. If you're now running 2 telephone poles, make it 3 before you walk. Or if you'd rather use time, try and jog for 2 minutes, and walk for 30 seconds. Be patient with yourself and let yourself build endurance slowly. With your condition, it's not just your heart and muscles that need to adapt, but your lower back and hip structures are learning how to adapt and build. Please do keep me posted!
When I was a kid, one of the Boy Scout requirements was to do the "Boy Scout mile". We would alternate running and walking, around 100 yards of each. We had to complete a mile in 12 minutes. The walking part of the Boy Scout mile gave us a brief rest from our running. Even today after 36 years of running, I take walking breaks for a few seconds to a minute if my body tells me it needs that brief rest. I also walk  300 or so yards to warm up before a run and to cool down after a run.

Sure, running isn't naturally easy, and we can panic when we get winded, or feel we may get stranded. A treadmill provides the ideal controlled environment since we can stop and/or adjust the speed and incline whenever we feel so inclined...ha, very punny. Alternatively, if you will be approaching the run outdoors, be sure your environment is one that permits you to stop and/or walk as needed. Sportsfields and tracks are the best for this, and once you take it to the streets, start with quiet neighborhoods ideally with sidewalks. Make sure you always know exactly how far you are away from water, your car or home, etc. Kim's utility pole example is a perfect way to build up to running fluidly for time or distance. Other examples are using the distance between mailboxes or standard city blocks. Lastly, I've always found the key to weight loss and/or ensuring you'll keep up a new task is making it fun. Running with a buddy is a great motivator, as is running with uplifting music on your ipod - run during the fast part of the your songs, and catch your breath walking during the slower part. Eventually you'll be running a full song, and then a full ten minutes, and then...  You can do it!

NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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