Thousands of runners just finished one of the most exciting races of the year – The Boston Marathon. Maybe you have dreams of someday taking on the home stretch up the infamous Heartbreak Hill and into downtown Boston, or maybe you simply want to be able to run outside and enjoy the beautiful spring weather. Either way, if you're starting a running routine for the first time, there are certain techniques that may help you succeed. Give yourself four weeks to fall in love with the sport that so many people find invigorating.
Throughout all four weeks, take three minutes to warm up, gradually progressing to a power walk, and three minutes to cool down when you're done. Going for these runs three or four times per week, every other day, is usually best. You should also always stretch for five minutes or more after a run.
Throughout the first week, your runs should follow this pattern: run two minutes, walk two minutes, repeating seven times for a total length of 28 minutes. Always remember to warm up and cool down.
This is also the time to decide whether you have supportive running shoes and a good sports bra to keep your run comfortable. If the shoes and undergarments you have are causing pain, it's time to head to the store and pick out new running gear.
During your second week of runs, you should run for three minutes and walk for one, repeating seven times. During these 28-minute runs, you should begin to focus on your breath. Instead of focusing on speed, make sure you can breathe properly while maintaining a good pace. If you cannot hold a conversation while you run, you are probably going too fast, which will not help you at this time. Taking deeper breaths while running allows you to take in more oxygen, which then feeds your muscles so you can build your endurance.
The third week will bring you up to a 30-minute run. Run for four minutes, walk for one, and repeat six times. Now that you are getting into your running routine, it is important to make your runs enjoyable. The number one way to keep at something is to make sure you have fun doing it, so make sure you never push yourself further than what feels good. Runs should make you feel proud, not overly exhausted, so try to keep that in mind throughout your routine. And don't get down on yourself if you're not at the pure bliss stage yet. Everyone comes to love running at their own speed!
At this point, you will increase your total run time to 33 minutes, running for five minutes and walking for one, repeating six times.
As you continue on in your running "career," you can build on your time by adding three to five minutes onto your workout time and decreasing walking time every week or two. Is your goal to lose five pounds? Is it to train for a 5K? Continue on with this plan until you reach your goal.
Remember that there will be ups and downs as you carry on with this new habit. Some jogs will make you consider running a marathon because they feel so good, while others will make you want to hang up your running shoes altogether. When you're having a rockin' run, take advantage of it to run further or harder, so you can take it a little easier on days when you're not feeling so enthusiastic.
It might also help to bring a buddy along with you, especially if you're both at the same stage of your running careers. Having a partner in crime might encourage you to stick with your goal and push yourself further.