Walk your first run
If you’re new to running there’s nothing worse than slipping on your trainers and setting out at full speed, only to be out of breath and feeling deflated after a few hundred metres. There's no shame in starting out walking and building up gradually...
Believe it or not, this isn’t a race.
Whether you’re a feisty first-timer or back after a little break, it’s important to pace yourself. Remember, you’re striving for progress not perfection. So why not walk your first run?
Yes, you read that right. Walking fires up the same muscles and joints you use when running, so it’s a pretty sensible place to start. Plus, a decent power walk can still boost your mood and burn calories — so it’s win win!
You’ll also be able to map out any potential running routes — finding leafy lanes, beautiful roads and smooth running surfaces — without any pressure. Look at it as doing good research at the same time as preparing your body.
Of course, if you feel like breaking into a jog — or even a run — while you’re walking then go ahead. Just don’t pressure yourself into continuing the run once you get tired. It’s fine to stop and walk again. Regular runners do this all the time — they call it taking an ‘active rest’ in between higher-paced runs.
Once you’ve conquered your first walk and are ready to amp up your workout it’s a good idea to introduce some structure into your sessions. Not only will a plan of action help you stay focused, but it also helps you to relax and enjoy your workout.
Right then, let’s get started…
The ever-so-simple walk-to-run routine
Walk at an energetic pace for five minutes. This can be en-route to or around an area with evenly spaced trees or lampposts. Remember to swing your arms too — they really help.
Once you’ve arrived, slowly start to jog for a set number of trees or lampposts. Five is a good place to start, but adjust this number according to whatever feels comfortable.
Once you’ve passed your fifth marker, slow down and walk for two markers — or half the number you just ran. Remember, you should be moving at a brisk walking pace, rather than a relaxed stroll. Keep your chin up, shoulders back and take nice deep breaths.
Repeat this sequence for as long as you feel comfortable. A total time of 20 minutes is a great goal, but remember, this isn’t a competition. You’re just getting started.
When you’re done, cool down by walking for five minutes. Either note the time your session took or the number of lampposts you ran so you can keep track of your progress.