Ask a PT: How Do I Start Running?

Cold weather runningAsk a PT:  I want to run my first 5K this spring, and may even sign up for the MotionWorks 5K training program. I’ve never run before, so what should I do in the next 2 months to prepare me for the program? I am totally starting from scratch.

Answer: There are several things you can do to prepare. The best thing you can do is get active. An easy way to start is a regular walking program. You can start with something simple like walking three times a week for 15-20 minutes. From there you can increase your mileage if you wish and then start to add in running when you feel ready. An easy way to start running is alternating between walking one minute and running one minute. A good starting running pace is one where it takes about the one minute walking break for you to catch your breath. If you start walking and running make sure you have a comfortable pair of running shoes and you don’t push through pain. It’s also a good idea to mix in other forms of exercise. The best exercise is the one you enjoy. This time of year I enjoy ice skating and skiing, but you may find it easier to start exercising for the very first time indoors where the air is warmer and it is easier to breathe. Obtaining a fitness center membership, even if just for a short time may be of benefit to get you started, or just hit the mall and start walking there if you are strapped for cash. There is no requirement for fitness level to start any 5K training program, but getting active and starting a walking and running program will give you the confidence to put your best foot forward whatever future goals your pursue.