I realise that some of you may be reading this blog and not have run before. I was in that position once. This guide is for you. I have no medical background so would advise you to consult a doctor before you do any exercise if you have not exercised in a while.
Stage 1: Learn how to walk before you can run
Before you attempt any running it is important to walk the mile first. This is useful because it get you used to feeling what the distance of a mile actually is. I use an app on my iPhone called runmeter to measure the mile – this app (I realise there are many others) is easy to use has caused be no problems. Runmeter takes guess work out of knowing I have run a mile. Try to make the mile a circular route so that you end up back at your door.
Stage 2: Become comfortable with walking the mile
For three or four days get used to walking the mile every day. Enjoy the fresh air, enjoy saying hello to people along the way and enjoy the different types of weather. Don’t not go just because it’s raining or windy – just enjoy it. Explore different routes, walk to the shops or for a coffee. Experiment with different times of the day. I love walking early in the morning and try to make it the first thing I do before I wash and shower for the day.
Stage 3: Use landmarks and features to jog a bit but not too much
It is Important that once you have found you can walk the mile comfortably that you start to jog/run a bit along the way. Start by walking and look out for objects in the distance such as a post box, telegraph pole or road junction you can run to. Don’t make them too far away but just a short distance in front. When you have jogged to them go back to walking until you can breathe easily and normally. Once you feel you can run again then choose another object in the distance. If the objects you are choosing are too far away then choose objects that are closer. Just be really flexible and don’t punish yourself too much.
Stage 4: Run a bit more
Once you get used to running a bit your will need to get used to running a bit more. Choose landmarks that are a bit further away and shorten the amount of time that you walk for. Remember there is no rush to improve and just do things you are comfortable with but try to add a few challenges along the way.
Stage 5: Add variety
Doing the same route time and time again is going to get boring and repetitive. Try to find several routes you can do from your own front door. I have talked about the magic five routes before. If you want a complete change then drive to somewhere beautiful and run from there. I often drive to Richmond Park and find new routes – it’s just a change. Adding variety will really help with your motivation. You may find that someone might want to run with you to make it more sociable.
These five stages should hopefully get you into running the mile comfortably. At the beginning if you don’t feel like running every day, run every other day. Just do what you can do. The important thing is that you get outside and do something.
Enjoy the running and please let me know how you get on.