A Running Start

Almost anyone can run. Chances are we have all run somewhere for one reason or another. We loved to run as children, so what happened? We can all find reasons for not running so let's take a look at some of the reasons we should tie up our laces before hanging up the runners.

1. A great source for stress management.
2. Weight control. (Burns twice as many calories per mile as walking)
3. Increase efficiency of heart
4. Increase strength in muscles, bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons.
5. Low cost of equipment.
6. Feeling of well being.
7. Improved self-image.
8. Rewards of reaching a specific goal.
9. Convenience. It can be done almost anywhere and at anytime.

Now that you are already reaping in the benefits, here are a couple of suggestions to make your transition comfortable, safe and fun. As mentioned, the cost of running is quite low compared to many other activities. The one piece of equipment which is mandatory, and will provide you with the support you need, is the running shoe. Before beginning a new program, pay a visit to your local running store, where you can be fitted properly by a professional. You may even persuade yourself to buy a comfy outfit suited for your weather conditions.

Proper posture can help you achieve an efficient form which is important in making your runs smoother and more enjoyable as you are expending your energy productively. Keep your head, neck and shoulders perpendicular to the ground and be aware of leaning too far forward or too far back. Feet should be low to the ground as this will allow a quicker turnover with less pounding. Concentrate on landing with the heel first, rolling through the middle of the foot and on to the ball of the foot, then pushing off through the toes. For longer distance runs it would be ideal to keep knees low, as high knees will increase speed, leading to premature fatigue, and kicking your feet too high behind will slow you down and expel more energy. Relax the arms and keep them close to the body. If they start to feel tight, shaking the arms will help release the tension. Now all that's left to do is breath and smile!

Here is a 12 week program to get you started. By following this schedule 3x per week you will be safely on your way to completing a 10km fun run. Remember to start out slowly, drink water, and stretch your muscles after your cool down. Don't forget to reward yourself for your great efforts. A new pair of shorts, a new shirt or headsets are all nice treats that add comfort and pleasure to the running experience.

Week 1: Walk 4min. 30sec, jog 30 seconds, continue for 45 minutes.
Week 2: Walk 4 min., jog 1 min., continue for 45 minutes.
Week 3: Walk 3 min. 30 sec., jog 1 min. 30 sec., continue for 45 minutes.
Week 4: Walk 3 min., jog 2 min., continue for 45 minutes.
Week 5: Walk 2 min. 30 sec., Jog 2 min. 30 sec., continue for 45 minutes.
Week 6: Walk 2 min., jog 3 min., continue for 50 minutes.
Week 7: Walk 1 min., jog 4 min., continue for 50 minutes.
Week 8: Walk 1 min., jog 5 min., continue for 50 minutes.
Week 9: Walk 2 min., jog 7 min., continue for 50 minutes.
Week 10: Walk 1 min., jog 10 min., continue for 50 minutes.
Week 11: Walk 1 min., jog 20, and repeat 3x.
Week 12: Your Ready! Enjoy your 10km fun run.

Sharon Fleming - Certified Personal Trainer