A beginner’s guide to running

Picture: iStock

Picture: iStock

What many people don’t realise is that running is one of the hardest sports on one’s body.

I got into running at the tender age of eight years old. For me, it was “monkey see, monkey do” because my mother was a marathon runner at the time. I used to watch her run lap after lap on the university running track and supported her at a number of road races.

Almost 30 years later and I am still running, with countless mileage in my feet and a long list of South African races under my belt.

Although I never turned professional, running has been the common thread in my fitness journey and the one sport that I always fall back on.

It’s one of the reasons I have kept my weight down because it can be a great fat burner. It is that easy get up and go sport. It doesn’t require much in terms of equipment.

But of course there are many people who have either attempted to get into running and haven’t lasted for many reasons. One of the common reasons I’ve heard from people is “running is too difficult”.

Picture: iStock

What many people don’t realise is that running is one of the hardest sports on one’s body because with every step that you take, you are propelling three times your body weight onto your ankle and knee joints.

With that said when you are a beginner to running, you need to make sure that you take it easy and gradually introduce your body to it so that it can adapt to the amount of physical strain.

I have tried and tested method that I have used on beginners wanting to run their first 5km fun run. It’s a gradual and conservative beginners training program that only requires you to set aside 30 minutes per day, three times a week for 10 weeks.

To make it easy for yourself, you could set aside 30 minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for the program. If you stick to this, by the 10th week you should be able to run non-stop for 30 minutes which should be more or less 5km.

If you find that the programme becomes easy for you, perhaps run faster during the running periods and brisk walk faster (swinging your arms hastily) during the walking periods.

Day 1 (Mondays) Day 2 (Wednesdays) Day 3 (Fridays)
Week 1 Run 1 min, Brisk walk 9 mins.

Repeat x3

Stretch

Run 1 min, Brisk walk 9 mins.

Repeat x3

Stretch

Run 1 min, Brisk walk 9 mins.

Repeat x3

Stretch

Week 2 Run 2 mins, Brisk walk 8 mins.

Repeat x3

Stretch

Run 2 mins, Brisk walk 8 mins.

Repeat x3

Stretch

Run 2 mins, Brisk walk 8 mins.

Repeat x3

Stretch

Week 3 Run 3 mins, Brisk walk 7 mins

Repeat x3

Stretch

Run 3 mins, Brisk walk 7 mins

Repeat x3

Stretch

Run 3 mins, Brisk walk 7 mins

Repeat x3

Stretch

Week 4 Run 4 mins, Brisk walk 6 mins

Repeat x3

Stretch

Run 4 mins, Brisk walk 6 mins

Repeat x3

Stretch

Run 4 mins, Brisk walk 6 mins

Repeat x3

Stretch

Week 5 Run 5 mins, Brisk walk 5 mins

Repeat x3

Stretch

Run 5 mins, Brisk walk 5 mins

Repeat x3

Stretch

Run 5 mins, Brisk walk 5 mins

Repeat x3

Stretch

Week 6 Run 6 mins, Brisk walk 4 mins

Repeat x3

Stretch

Run 6 mins, Brisk walk 4 mins

Repeat x3

Stretch

Run 6 mins, Brisk walk 4 mins

Repeat x3

Stretch

Week 7 Run 7 mins, Brisk walk 3 mins

Repeat x3

Stretch

Run 7 mins, Brisk walk 3 mins

Repeat x3

Stretch

Run 7 mins, Brisk walk 3 mins

Repeat x3

Stretch

Week 8 Run 8 mins, Brisk walk 2 mins

Repeat x3

Stretch

Run 8 mins, Brisk walk 2 mins

Repeat x3

Stretch

Run 8 mins, Brisk walk 2 mins

Repeat x3

Stretch

Week 9 Run 9 mins, Brisk walk 1 mins

Repeat x3

Stretch

Run 9 mins, Brisk walk 1 mins

Repeat x3

Stretch

Run 9 mins, Brisk walk 1 mins

Repeat x3

Stretch

Week 10 Run 30 mins nonstop Run 30 mins nonstop Run 30 mins nonstop
Week 11 Run a 5km fun run

List of essentials

  • A good pair of running footwear. Not leisure or walking takkies
  • Breathable running socks
  • Comfortable and breathable exercise clothing

Keys to success

This programme might be easier if you start it with a friend who is also new to running. To ensure you stick to it, look for a race that is 11 weeks away and register for it. Good luck!

For a list of running events visit www.runnersguide.co.za

Zulu is a qualified biokineticist and cofounder of PopUpGym. Follow her on Instagram: @letshego.zulu Twitter: @letshegom Facebook: Letshego Zulu

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