I Ran A Marathon With Only Ten Weeks Of Training
Become A Runner In 8 Weeks With This Simple Beginner's Plan
The training plan that follows is designed to get you to the point where you can run 30 minutes (about 2 miles) at a slow, relaxed pace. It's a simple, progressive program that begins with more walking than running, and gradually evolves into more running than walking.
Once you are able to run 2 miles nonstop, you can decide on your next goal. You might simply want to continue running 2 miles at a time, 3 or 4 days per week. Research has shown that this is enough to help you lose or maintain weight and improve many other important health markers, such as your cholesterol, blood pressure, and insulin response.
Or you might decide that you want to do more, in which case you can consult the many training programs offered by our online SmartCoach tool. Don't be intimidated by these programs. The first 2 miles are the hardest you will ever run. Once you have reached this level of fitness, it's relatively easy to do more. You simply have to budget the time and be patient and disciplined in your training.
(Want more? TheRunner's World can help you lose weight, get fit, and have fun.)
Here are four key points to consider before you begin the 8-week program.
1.If you are over 40, not accustomed to any exercise, or more than 20 pounds overweight, consult with your physician. Unless you have a known health risk, your doctor will probably encourage you to begin a run-walk program, but it's always wise to check.
2.Schedule your . You won't find time for them unless you make time for them. Put them in your PDA, computer, daily appointment planner, on the front of your refrigerator, or wherever else you keep your schedule.
3.Expect bad days. Everyone has them, but they pass quickly, and the next workout is often better than the previous one. So stick with the program.
4.Don't rush. In the fitness world, rushing leads to injuries and discouragement. Be patient, and go slow. The goal is to reach 30 minutes of continuous running, not to set any records getting there.
MORE:How To Stay Safe On The Run
Training tip:To fuel up for your workout, have a piece of fruit or an energy bar about 2 hours before you lace up your shoes. An hour later, drink 8 ounces of a sports drink. The drink will ensure that you are fully hydrated and have sufficient sodium and potassium for a healthy workout.
MORE:The Best Foods For Runners
Training tip:Always walk 2 to 3 minutes for a warmup before you begin your workout, and walk another 2 to 3 minutes as a cooldown afterward. Don't stretch before running. Save it for after your workout or in the evening while you're watching TV.
MORE:Stretching For Runners
Training tip:Hold your arms comfortably at your sides while running, aiming for maximum relaxation. Bend them 90 degrees at the elbows, and move them forward and back at your waist. Bend your fingers into a relaxed grasp, and don't let your hands sway back and forth across the middle of your torso.
MORE:Proper Running Form
Training tip:In hot, sunny weather, wear , sunglasses (so you can keep your facial muscles relaxed), and a visor or cap to keep the sun off your face. Expect to run slower in particularly hot, humid weather, and take more walking breaks as necessary. Run in the early morning or late evening if you can.
MORE:Hot Weather Running
(For more information about beginning to run, visit The Starting Line,Runner's World'scomplete guide for those new to running. The Starting Line has information and tips for those thinking about starting to run, as well as those who have already taken the first steps.)
Training tip:On occasion, skip your running and walking workout and do a cross-training workout instead. Bike for 30 to 40 minutes, try the elliptical trainer in a gym, or join a circuit weight-training class. The break from running will refresh you, and you'll learn new skills while developing new muscles.
MORE:16 Cross-Training Activities To Try
Training tip:Running is a great way to build strong bones, but you also need plenty of calcium—1,000 milligrams a day, or 1,500 milligrams if you're over age 50. Drink a glass or two of low-fat milk per day, or enjoy a cup or two of low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese. Dark green, leafy vegetables are another great calcium source.
MORE:Six Rules For Eating Right As A Runner
Training tip:Beginning runners often develop shin splints or sore knees. These pains should pass quickly if you treat them immediately with ice packs after your workouts. Put a bag of frozen peas on your shins or knees for 15 minutes. If the pain persists, take several days off before beginning your training program again.
MORE:Injury Prevention And Recovery For Runners
Training tip:For clean air and healthy lungs, try to not do your workouts at the side of a busy street or during rush-hour traffic. Find low-traffic streets where any exhaust will be dispersed quickly. Even better, as often as possible, try to run in greenbelts—in parks, on bike trails, around reservoirs, and the like. Success may come quickly to you as a beginning runner, but the race is never won. Run for life.
Video: Half Marathon Training for Beginners: 3 ESSENTIAL Tips!
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