Running isn’t impossible or ‘only for fit people’. We believe you can run, but you just don’t know it yet. Remember, even the best runners started from somewhere.
Whether it’s how beetroot red your face turns, or the fear of a stitch, we’re here to guide you through from walking to running, and beyond!
Let’s face it, if you’ve been mastering 10,000 steps for a while, and really want to lose weight and build muscle tone, it’s time for a new goal.
Benefits of running
- It’s an amazing cardio workout. You’ll increase your heart rate, work up a sweat and feel tired, but pumped.
- It will make you eat healthier food, because running on a tummy full of carbs just hurts, frankly.
- You’ll lose weight, and when you’re up to maintenance mode, you can get away with more treats.
- You will get to experience more scenery, as you can cover more distance than if you were walking.
- Just like walking, you don’t need equipment, and you can do it in your local area.
- A study by scientists from five US universities found an hour of running adds seven hours to your life, and this is more than any other activity.
The first thing to do is set a goal within reach, such as running 5km.
Decide how many days a week you can train (2-3 is a good amount to get started with), and enter it into your calendar as a recurring event so it becomes a non negotiable.
Next, ensure you’re fitted out correctly, as you’ll be putting more pressure on your joints. Get yourself a supportive running bra, comfortable running shoes and a new hair tie – they will make the world of difference.
Buddy up if possible with a friend or your partner, so you can encourage each other to turn up. Even if you’re different speeds, you can still make it work by going to a park or the faster person goes further and meets you a point.
Decide how you’ll track your walks and runs, whether it’s with your wearable or on an app like Strava. If you’ll be running on your own, create an upbeat music playlist to distract yourself from counting kilometres or minutes.
Strengthening your muscles for a few weeks before you start running can help to avoid injury.
The main muscles to strengthen, and the exercises that go with them are as follows:
- Knee stabilisers with one-legged squats
- Calves with calf raises, so you don’t get shin splints
- Gluteus maximus and medius with hip raises and hip hitch hold
- Core and lower back with planks and cobras
- Hip flexors and glutes through stretching and foam rolling for mobility throughout your hips
Also read: Here’s what you should be eating after a workout
5K running plan
The best place to start off running is at your local park, so you stop whenever you need to. Take a look at the program below if you want something exact to follow.
Otherwise, you can simply start by doing a fast walk and then adding a little jog in until you can’t do it any longer, then go back to a walk until your breathe returns to normal, then repeat the jog again (until you reach a lamppost or the end of a song).
Keep going with this pattern for 30 minutes if you can. If not, work up to it, and be sure to increase the jogging parts until you can go for a steady jog.
12WBT tip! To avoid a stitch when you’re running, ensure you have hydrated and warmed up, and you’re breathing as regularly as possible during the run.
How many times you train a week will determine how long it takes you to achieve your 5km goal. If you find yourself unable to keep up with the plan, don’t give up, but simply take it at your own pace and increase as you feel comfortable.
Week 1: Strength and mobility + walking
Week 2: Strength and mobility + walking
Week 3: 2km jog – do this by running for 1 song on, and 1 song off
Week 4: 2.5km jog – run for 2 songs on, 1 song off
Week 5: 3km jog – run for 3 songs on, 1 song off
Week 6: 3.5km jog – run for 4 songs on, 1 song off
Week 7: 4km jog – run for 5 songs on, 1 song off
Week 8: 5km run
Your future as a runner
If you get injured or feel any niggling pains, get to the bottom of it before you do any more running. You may need to see a physio or get orthotics in your shoes.
12WBT tip! Running up hills (albeit slowly at first) will burn a lot of calories and make you faster, as this works your muscles harder and sculpts your calves, quads, glutes.
Once you’ve hit your 5k milestone, give yourself a big pat on the back for reaching your goal. Try to continue with at least one run each week to maintain your fitness.
To learn more about the 12WBT Running programs (we have 6, for ALL different fitness levels!), click here.