6 points to get started in running


With many of us working from home and with gyms closed for most of the year, 2020 has been a time when many people have returned or started running.

When the closures began in March, health experts encouraged solo outdoor exercise for physical and psychological well-being. And although there are still many unknowns about the spread of the coronavirus months after it impacted the world, experts consider the risk to be lower in outdoor settings where safe social distancing practices exist.

So, since temperatures are dropping during the colder fall season, now is a great time to get out and start running if you're looking for an easy way to exercise.

The following calendar was developed in 2011 by Budd Coates and published in the book Runner’s World Run Your Butt Off! It has helped thousands of beginners get started running since it was first published nine years ago.

Here's what you need to know about the program in general, with caveats as we are still navigating the pandemic of COVID-19.

1. Don't try a new exercise program if you're not feeling well.
If you're sick, this is not the time, as the world still grapples with the coronavirus and the annual flu season. Get well first.

2. You don't have to do this alone, exercise with someone in your immediate bubble.
If you can, start this program with someone you live with or with a friend you know is showing no symptoms and has been following the Adequate COVID-19 protocols.

3. Progress at your own pace.
This is a smooth progression from 30 minutes of walking to 30 minutes of running in 12 different stages. Yes, you can do it in 12 weeks. But you can also slow it down to take the time you need, spending two weeks or more at certain stages until you feel comfortable at each level.

4. Make sure you can walk for 30 minutes straight before attempting to run.
If you haven't walked regularly and are trying to go straight from a sedentary lifestyle to running, skipping the walking parts, you increase your risk of injury . And the last thing you want to do during this pandemic is injure yourself by doing too much, too soon.

5. Run slowly at first.
This part of the program has not changed in a decade since it was developed. During your first few days of running, your pace should be only slightly faster, or exactly the same speed, as your walking pace. The first thing that derails people who hope to be runners is the feeling of not having enough air. It is not a pleasant sensation. And if you run too fast, you are likely to be out of breath.

Take it easy, especially in the beginning as your legs and lungs are getting ready to run. Don't worry at all about speed or distance traveled. It just doesn't matter. You should be able to talk, at least a little, while walking and running. If you can't, you're going too fast.

As your experience develops, after several weeks or months, you can start to think about pace and distance and sign up for your first 5K race. For the first few days, just moving for 30 minutes at a time is the name of the game. Also, many races for the rest of 2020 have been canceled, postponed or moved to virtual events, so there is no rush.

6. Make a schedule for yourself and stick to it.
Consistency matters, and especially now, on days when schedules have suddenly changed and we seem to have a lot more time. But it's easy for days to slip by.

Take a little time each night to plan when you will walk or run the next day. You should not go more than a day without exercising; If the gap increases to two or three days or more, you will essentially start from scratch every time you walk out the door.

Ready? Excellent. Enjoy it!

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