How To Go From Sedentary Couch Potato To Being A Runner In 4 Little Steps
“Running is one of the best solutions to a clear mind.” ~ Sasha Azevedo
By: Kevin Tyler Smith Follow me on Twitter
I wanted to kill that little dude with the big scream inside my head. Yep…kill ‘em dead.
That little loud mouth would relentlessly shout at me, “I hate you, you fat lard. It’s a damn shame you’re this out of shape”.
The irony, I would always hear his scratchy voice while I’m gasping for air, bent over with hands on knees after the short climb of stairs in my house. Of course it’s important to mention that I had just got up from being sedentary in my “easy chair” all day watching football.
So here’s how I shut him up:
I’ve always wanted to be a runner but expecting to be marathon worthy would be a dumb goal, at least for now. My local 3K and 5K charity races would be enough.
So I realistically altered my expectations to simply get out of the chair and start moving. I didn’t need to train for a marathon. I just wanted to be a contender with my own fitness level and personal endurance goals. The fitness byproduct of such training would be enough for me to shut that little guy up and give me some peace of mind.
At the beginning of 2011, I set some personal goals, some of which are on fitness. Now that we are a few months into the new year, I’ve made fairly decent progress toward getting out of the chair and running.
Disclaimer: Before starting this program, go get a physical exam from your doctor and be transparent about your exercise intentions. This step is paramount if you have any health risks with your heart, lungs, have a major disease, or if your’re pregnant.
The Four Steps
By learning what’s working so far for me, you can go from being a couch potato to being a runner relatively quick. Just remember, I’m no expert, I’m just a novice just like you but these steps are working for me toward being the runner I’ve always wanted to be:
- Start small. Get out of the chair, lace up your running shoes and walk out the door. Walk is the optimum word for your first 2 weeks. For the first week at least 3 times, walk at a steady pace for 7 to 10 minutes. The second week increase to a brisk walk 4 times for 7 to 10 minutes. A slow start is good for preventing injury, especially for those who are coming from a place of doing next to nothing in the form of physical activity.
- Walk/Jog. You will continue to exercise 4 times a week. Start with a 10 minute warm-up walk. Then for the next 10 minutes, do a combination of walk for 1 minute and a very easy jog for 1 minute or less. As you feel comfortable each time you exercise, gradually increase the total time of your walk/jog combination by 1 minute until you are doing this combination for 15 minutes. Be patient, don’t rush this step. Within 2-3 weeks or more you will be at this level.
- Expand your running. Once you are able to reach that 15 minute plateau, try taking less walk breaks. I know it will be difficult at first, but I promise if you stay committed it will become easier and more enjoyable.
- Celebrate. You are now a runner. Even though you are running with a few walk breaks , that’s OK. Some runners have been known to run marathons with walk breaks. It is not uncommon for them to run 10 minutes and walk for 1 minute.
Continue to build on your abilities to run for longer periods of time by exercising 4 times a week. Eventually, after step 3, you will be able to comfortably run for 30 to 40 minutes. To get to that point, just add 5 minutes to your runs each week.
Once you’re able to run for 30 to 40 minutes, sign up for a 5K (there’s races just about every weekend). Participate with the mindset of just finishing. But most importantly, have fun watching your progress.
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