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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Starting a running program


The weather is starting to improve and now is the time to get outside and get active. The nicest aspect of living in New Mexico is the great weather with plenty of sunshine and low humidity. Take advantage of it. I admit that I'm partial to running and whenever I take some time off of running, I always start up again the same way...with a walk/run program. It is just easier on you to ease into it instead of killing yourself by trying to run miles and miles from the start. I've attached a program designed to get a non-runner from the couch to a 5k race (3.1 miles). The plan requires 3 days of running per week for 20-30 minutes per day. No excuses...you can do that over lunch, but the best time from a scheduling standpoint is usually in the morning, before work. It's also a lot cooler then.

Before you begin

Check with your doctor. If you have concerns about whether or not you are healthy enough to do the plan, check with your doctor first. Your doctor will be thrilled that you've decided to start exercising and will advise you appropriately.

It's gotta be the shoes!

Once you decide that you are ready to take on the challenge, get a good pair of running shoes...and I don't mean the $29.99 specials at Big 5. Go to a running store and get a pair of shoes that is made for your gait pattern. 99% or running pains and injuries can be headed off at the pass by running in the correct type of shoe for you. I'm serious...do not skimp on the shoes. The average cost of a good pair of running shoes is $80 and you should replace them after 4-6 months, or 300-500 miles of running in them. The cost of the shoes are cheap compared to the cost of injuries in terms of time and money. I'll say it again...DO NOT SKIMP ON THE SHOES! In Albuquerque, I would recommend Heart and Sole shoes on San Mateo. (2817 San Mateo Blvd NE, 505-884-SOLE). If you want other reasonable option, try Fleet Feet or The Athletes Edge. For everyone in other parts of the state, try looking in the yellow pages.

Pick a local 5K race

5k races are held at least a few times a year in most places and more often in the bigger cities. Go to http://www.active.com, put in your zip code and find out if there are any races being held in the next few months. Sign up for a race and use it for motivation to stick to the plan. You don't have to be fast, either. Many people are there just to participate and some people will probably walk the entire race so speed is not a big deal. If you fancy a charity event, there are charities that sponsor races and your entry fee will go to support that cause, i.e. Juvenile Diabetes Walk (You're welcome, Amy), Race for the Cure, Run for the Zoo. I'll also mention the Torch Run this Friday. It's a good run to in which to participate no matter what your level of fitness because you can run as long as you can, then just ride back into town.

The program

Print out the attached schedule and start doing the plan. The program is designed to last 9 weeks, but if a week is particularly difficult, or you can't complete the running part that week...then simply repeat it the next week. It might take you longer than 9 weeks to do it, but who cares. Also, don't even think about running fast. I don't think anyone should be doing any type of fast running until you are running at least 20 miles per week. Any less mileage per week than that and the risk of injury is too high to justify the small benefit of speed.


Like I said, running is my thing so if you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them. I've had almost every running injury that a person can have (until I started taking my own advice about the shoes), so if you've got some weird running-related aches and pains, I've probably got a suggestion on how to get rid of it.

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