Running is a unique sport that requires virtually no special equipment and almost everyone can do it at their own pace. If this appeals to you as you are reading this while sitting on the couch and you’d like to see if you can become a runner, here’s how to do it.
As soon as you finish reading this, put on your most comfortable shoes and go for a 30-minute walk or run. Let’s figure out your level of fitness, and we’ll go from there. I’ll never forget going for a run in my twenties when I was in relatively good shape — I rode my bike about 50 miles per week and was not obese at the time. I ran for only about 100 yards before I pooped out. Don’t be surprised or ashamed by how short a distance you can run or how slow you may run. By going out to run right now you are doing two powerful things — you are starting rather than planning and you are figuring out how much room there is to improve. Be sure to measure time and distance carefully. (You can use the free application from Runkeeper on your smart phone.)
Running isn’t solely about losing weight, but you will find you can run faster and farther if you weigh less. Of course, if you are already slim don’t bother. Your running will be more fun and much faster if you can get your weight below the “obese” range on the official Body Mass Index (BMI) chart.
Now that you know your current weight and how far you can run in 30 minutes, you can set some goals. If your weight is in the “obese” range on the BMI charts (like mine was when I started running a few years ago) you will want to have a specific weight loss plan and a goal for that along with a goal for running. For your running goal, it would be wise to find a 5k race you can join about 90 days from now. Just search “5k Race” with your city name on the internet and you won’t have any trouble finding one. Your first run for 30 minutes gives you a baseline. If you traveled 2 miles in 30 minutes, you were walking at a pace of 4 miles per hour; that’s a pace that would allow you to finish a 5k (3.1 miles) in about 46 minutes. You could reasonably hope to shave 10 minutes off that pace in 90 days, allowing you to finish a 5k in 36 minutes.
Buy a pair of running shoes
Don’t let shoes stop you from starting, but when you get a moment, round up a pair of good running shoes. I recently found a pair of Asics Gel running shoes for about $60 (there is no upper limit that I can find). While you don’t need to break the bank, a good pair of shoes will make a difference.
Eat to lose weight
If your weight is in the obese range and losing weight is part of your plan, be sure to follow a diet. I used Weight Watchers to lose about 70 pounds and kept it off. While that may not be the right plan for you, it is important that you take diet seriously if you need to lose weight.
Each week you’ll want to do at least 3 runs, as follows:
By following this simple 5-point plan, you should be able to get yourself to the point that you can finish a 5k race at least 10 minutes faster than you could do it today. More importantly, you’ll be a runner. If you stay with it, you will amaze yourself. A marathon could be in your future!