Get started running

runingBY CARISSA KARN

If you’ve never run for exercise before, or it’s been a while since you’ve run regularly, it’s important to ease into the sport. Trying to run too fast and too long too soon will make most people want to quit.

Before you start, make sure you have fairly new, high-quality running shoes. Many runners buy their shoes at a running store where custom insoles are also sold. Proper shoes will go a long way toward preventing shin splints, plantar fasciitis and a host of other common runner’s injuries.

Follow this training guide and get ready for runner’s high, race-day excitement and a new-found sense of confidence.

PICK A RACE

Many trainers say the best way to motivate yourself to keep running is to find a race, sign up for it, pay for it and put it on your calendar. A fixed race date will help you stay focused and stick to a regular running schedule. Most people start with a 5K. It may help if the race benefits a charity or cause you’re passionate about.

RUNNING FORM

Some people are natural heel-strikers while others tend to lead with their toes. The good news: neither form is inherently better than the other. And you are less likely to become injured if you simply maintain your natural stride. The more you run, the more comfortable that stride will feel and — even better — the more efficient your body will become.

THE RUN-WALK METHOD

The Run-Walk Method is a great way for new runners to get started and for experienced runners to improve their times. This method was pioneered by Olympian Jeff Galloway. The technique doesn’t mean walking when you’re tired; it means taking brief walk breaks when you’re not. You can pick whatever ratio of walking and running that works for you. Some suggested combinations include: (Beginners) Run 30 seconds, walk 1-2 minute. (Intermediate) Run 1-5 minutes, walk 1-2 minutes. Alternate running and walking for the duration of your run.

CHOOSE A TRAINING PLAN

The Internet is full of training plans for running, but this simple routine is hard to beat. To train for a 5K, run for 30 minutes every Tuesday and Thursday, and for longer distances on Sundays. Each Sunday, add 5 minutes to your run. Remember, you can use the runwalk method instead of running the entire distance. Even if you are an absolute beginner, by following this training schedule you will be ready to run a 5k in 7 weeks.