Running Training Program

Want to get in shape?  Running is one of the best cardiovascular workouts around – it is effective, efficient and fun.  A good running training program is an aerobic exercise, so it helps strengthen your entire cardiovascular system – heart, lungs, blood vessels, etc.  Regular exercise can make you feel better about yourself, provide some ‘me time’, trim your body, lower your cholesterol and help you sleep.  Running is relatively inexpensive – all you need is a good pair of running shoes and a program to follow.   If you need extra incentive to keep you going, get a partner to start with you, or keep a chart to note your progress. 

Before you start any exercise program, check with your doctor.  If you are very overweight, have heart problems or other physical concerns, brisk walking may be a better option for you.  Start your program off slowly and listen to your body.  Stop immediately if you get out of breath or dizzy.  When you first start out, you may feel some mild muscle soreness in the days following your workout. 

You should try to find level surfaces where there is some give – like dirt tracks or asphalt – instead of solid concrete sidewalks.  If you live near walking trails or the beach, you could take advantage of getting back to nature as you are getting fit. Just make sure you run in a safe area or join a group.  Bring water with you for your run.  You may also want to bring your cell phone for emergencies.

Determine how many times a week you will run and set aside the time.  You may start with 3 times per week, and work your way up to 5 times.  Experiment with different clothes – sweat pants, shorts, yoga pants, etc., to see what is most comfortable.  Don’t take strides that are too big as that will put stress on your joints. Bring along an ipod with your favourite tunes to keep you motivated and make the time go quicker.  Gradually increase your pace over time, still staying in your heart rate zone. 

Follow the following chart and check off the weeks as you progress.  Don’t increase your mileage by more than 10% per week.  Let your body adjust to your new routine and avoid pain or over-doing it.  Always take time to warm up before the run.  You should finish your run with a slow, easy pace for the last five minutes.  Once you finish, let your body cool down by doing some stretches.  If you are not familiar with proper running technique or stretching, look into taking a course or a training session at a local gym, recreation centre or even a store that caters to runners.

Week               Program                       Repeat Total Time
1                      Walk                            1x        20 minutes
2                      Walk                            1 x       22 minutes
3                      Walk 4 minutes           4 x       20 m
Run/jog 1 min
4                      Walk 3 minutes           5 x       20 minu
Run jog 1 min                        
5                      Walk 2 minutes           7 x       21 m
Run/jog 1 min
6                      Walk 1 min                  10        20 min
Run/jog 1 min            
7                      Walk 2 min                  5          20 mins
Run/jog 2 mins
8                      Walk 1 min                  7          21 min
Run/jog 2 mins           
9                      Walk 1 min                  5          20 mins
run/jog 3 mins                        
10                    Walk 1 min                  4          20 mins
run/jog 4 mins

Keep progressing gradually till you can run/jog for the whole 20 minutes, then slowly increase the time you run.  Good luck!