Week One: Not currently running? Walk briskly for two to three miles, four to five days a week. When you can walk three miles in an hour, without getting severely short of breath, it will be time for interval training. Week Two: Previously sedentary? If youíve made it to three miles of walking in under an hour, four times a week without aches and pains, start your interval training. After your first mile of walking, alternate 50-100 yards or 100 meters of gentle running. No gasping for breath. You are not sprinting for the bus. The cardiac unit staff is not following you in an ambulance! Run slowly; land gently; then walk 100 yards. Run too fast and your exercise will be finished for this year: you will be back on the sofa. Run walk your middle mile on three walks a week. Your forth and additional sessions can remain walks. Week Three: Retired sloths can move to the next level. Walk half a mile warmup, then do two miles of alternating walk runs of 100 to 200 yards or meters. Do at least one of your walk runs on grass or dirt trails. Add an additional mile to one of your sessions. If you are one of those 97 million overweight Americans, write down your food and fluid intake for a few days, then find your wasted calories. Exercise heartrate goal. Do your walk runs at or above 60 percent of your maximum heartrate. Stay close to 60 percent in the early sessions; once youíve done several sessions, guarantee that your cardiopulmonary system is sufficiently stimulated by exercising at 70 percent. How do you know what your maximum heartrate is? In your first few training weeks, subtract your age from 220. You should be able to maintain a conversation without huffing and puffing. Running pace must remain modest to allow your muscles to adapt. Run too fast and you predispose yourself to overuse injuries such as shin splints. Week Four: Begin hill training. On one of your walk runs, try several runs or brisk walks up a gentle slope; run down a few also while practicing landing softly. Grass or dirt trails work well for this session. Change one session to half mile runs alternating with 220 yard or 200 meter walks. This will force you to run at a sensible pace. Incorporate a small amount of running into that forth walk. Add another mile to your long session of walk run; add it as brisk walking if you need to. Week Five Add mileage this week. Aim for three sessions of 4 miles and one of 6 miles. Week Six Repeat last week, but consolidate by doing a little less walking and a little more running. Week Seven Youíre seeing the health and fitness benefits of regular exercise, so you have two goals this week. Add a mile to two walk runs to give yourself 20 per week. 4, 4, 5 and 7 is ideal. Practice running for two miles at a time on two occasions this week. Pace judgment is vital. Adjust your running speed to the temperature, humidity and terrain. Week Eight Take a leap of faith. After about 8 times 100 yards of gentle running in the early part of your 7 mile session, run four miles non stop at easy pace. 30 second water stops are OK. Run walk the last section. Stride a bit faster up the hills in one of your other sessions. Week Nine Fully consolidated at 20 miles per week, you may be doing more running than walking by now. You have at least a 4 mile run, a series of half mile runs, and numerous strides of 100-200 yards or meters. Keep everything relaxed while developing efficient running form. Week Ten Half way to the 10K, therefore itís time to run a 5K. Cut your mileage to 12-15 miles. Reduce that 7 to a 5. Two miles of continuous running would be ideal. Many of you will be doing minimal walking by now, but ease back by walking the first and last half mile of each session. On race day, arrive early to register. Start your warm up with a half mile walk and some stretching. Done mostly running? Warm up with a mile of running, then stretch. Line up close to the back of the other entrants, and run the first half mile slowly. Then itís time for some of you to walk 200 yards before running again. Pace it right, and most of you will run the whole way. Each mile should take you the same time. Ran 11 minute miles for those 2-4 mile training runs, and 10 minute mile pace for those half mile efforts? Ten to 10.5 minute miles will be about right for 5K or 3.1 miles. Donít sprint at the finish. If you are feeling fresh at 2 miles, pick up the pace slightly, and enjoy the thrill of a long sustained drive to the line. Walk a half mile or so after the race, stretch, then re-hydrate and enjoy the day.
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