By Ben Coons, Clinical Exercise Physiologist, Cardiac Rehabilitation
This time of year is a great time to get out and enjoy a leisurely run. You can gradually start a running program with a little commitment and dedication.
Start a running program in slow, gradual increments. Focus on minutes and seconds instead of miles:
- Add 10 to 20 second bursts of running into your morning walk. A good option is to run between telephone poles or other landmarks.
- Rest for about 30 seconds to a minute between your bursts of running.
As you slowly start to build up endurance, lengthen the running time and shorten the rest periods. Before you know it, you will be running a mile.
Go the distance
When increasing your mileage, follow the 10 percent rule:
- Don’t increase your mileage by more than 10 percent each week, which is about 10 minutes. Doing so can result in shin splints and other musculoskeletal injuries.
- Shin splints are directly related to increasing your mileage too quickly. They are characterized by pain in the front of the lower leg that is sensitive to the touch.
Other good ways of monitoring intensity are through the rating of perceived exertion scale (RPE) or the “Talk Test.”
- The Talk Test is a rule that while your breathing should be labored, you should be able to respond to conversation during exercise.
- When you run you should be at about a six or a seven on a RPE scale of 1 to 10.
Running with a friend or listening to music will help to keep you motivated. You may also be able to join the Nuvance Health six-week Get Fit Challenge for inspiration.
Running requires very little equipment, though good fitting running sneakers are essential. Find the perfect pair that is specific to your body type and goals. You may want to purchase a digital watch or a heart rate monitor to help track the intensity of your workout.
Next up: 5K
Setting a goal of running a 5K is a great goal and it will probably take you about one to three months to complete if you are new to running. Just completing the 5K should be your goal. If you can’t run the entire race, that’s fine. Many 5K races have a walking contingent. Remember, starting to run and fitness is a lifelong commitment.
Benjamin Coons is a Nuvance Health Cardiac Rehab Specialist. Learn more about Cardiac Rehab.