Start Slowly For Great Results

January 4th, 2011 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

As I drive to bootcamp in the wee hours of the first days of each new year, I see about 80% more people out and about.  I assume they are working on their own resolutions to get outside and run, bike, or walk.  Unfortunately for them, it doesn’t last for long.  Fortunately for me, it doesn’t last for long—they don’t know how to be out in the dark and some of them drive very sleepily and slowly!

But that’s what the New Year is all about: fresh starts.  I saw the following article on the other day and think it’s a good reminder that there is no such thing as starting too slowly.  (Except when it comes to driving in front of me when I’m on my way to bootcamp and you aren’t driving even the speed limit.) 

Just in case 2011 is the year for you to start running, I provide the information for you and for your body.  Enjoy!

Attention, beginner runner: It’s safe–and smart–to start out slow. Really slow. “Easing into it helps your muscles get used to the impact of running and helps your mind get used to the effort,” Hinton says. She recommends following a run/walk program like the one here three times a week (not on consecutive days). Begin and end each session with a five-minute warmup walk. Repeat a week if you don’t feel ready to move up. When you’re able to run consistently for at least 30 minutes, you can start adding more distance.

Week 1: Run 2 min, walk 3 min; repeat 6 times

Week 2: Run 3 min, walk 3 min; repeat 5 times

Week 3: Run 5 min, walk 2 min; repeat 4 times

Week 4: Run 7 min, walk 3 min; repeat 3 times

Week 5: Run 8 min, walk 2 min; repeat 3 times

Week 6: Run 9 min, walk 1 min; repeat 3 times

Week 7: Run 30 minutes

After you’ve been running for at least six weeks, add intervals to continue building fitness and shedding pounds. Intervals are short bursts of speed that engage the muscle fibers that make you go fast. (Bonus: Research has shown that sprints trigger a fat-frying response in your muscles.) To do them, warm up for six minutes with an easy jog. Then run faster for 15 to 20 seconds. Slow down to an easy pace for three minutes. Repeat the cycle three to five times, then cool down with a six-minute jog. Do intervals once a week and increase your sprint length by 10 seconds each week until you can go all-out for 80 seconds.

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