Home > Start Running > Walk Before You Run

Walk Before You Run

By: Mike Kiely BA (hons) - Updated: 4 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Cardiovascular Check-up Walking Schedule

Many people said goodbye to physical exercise when they left school. Others may have continued with sport into their twenties but after that the majority become so embroiled in the world of work and bringing up children that even if the body was willing, and even the spirit positive, finding the time meant good intentions never translated into positive action.

So imagine that your body has not had any real physical demands made on it for a number of years. Then, suddenly, you’re pulling on the running shoes and expecting it to propel you over distances you haven’t even walked in a very long time. Overambitious would be a polite term for such behaviour. Ill-advised another apt description. Downright dangerous a more accurate one in some cases.

But assuming that you have heeded the advice included in the section on the need for a medical check-up and the Doc has given you the thumbs-up - that still doesn’t mean it’s a case of all systems go. Rather it’s time to ease your body back into the world of physical activity, and that means getting tuition on stretching exercises and learning to put one foot in front of the other again.

On the Treadmill

Any form of cardiovascular exercise is going to be beneficial to your heart and lungs, so don’t assume that you need to be clocking up four-minute miles in garish coloured Lycra shorts to be gaining benefits. That will come in time, so for now be patient, pull on the shoes and simply enjoy a 20-minute walk around your neighbourhood. If the gym is where you have chosen to get fit, ask one of the instructors to draw up a walking schedule on the treadmill. Just as in running, aim to progressively up the pace and perhaps, when you are ready; incorporate a few hills into the course, either outside or on the machine.

One Step at a Time

As your walking progresses, you will begin to feel the benefits, to the extent that when you feel totally comfortable with both the increased pace and the steeper gradients, it is time to introduce running into the equation. But again, take things one step at a time. Divide your walk into four sections, using physical landmarks to mark them out. Walk the first section, then break into a gentle jog for the second, walk the third and again jog the home straight. When you feel more confident, split your time 50:50 so that the first half involves walking, the second running. Similarly, start by tackling the steeper gradients along the way by walking, then think about including them in the running sections.

As confidence grows, you will inevitably want to extend the length of your course but always remember that you are in this for the long-term: only set yourself a challenge that you are confident you have the ability to meet. Because it is confidence that will not only ensure that you keep up the good work but encourage you to take your new-found fitness to the next level.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Tammy
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi, also trying to find out if Swansea groups still going? Thanks.
    7 October 2018
  • Rach
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi I live in the Wolverhampton WV8 area and wondered if you have any activities running close to me please? Thank you Rachel.
    3 September 2018
  • Ali
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi Vic. Try Potters Trotters. They used to meet at Northwood years ago, but now meet at Staffs Uni on Tuesday and Thursday. They…
    30 August 2018
  • Cathryn
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Is there a beginners club in Torquay for women over 50
    31 July 2018
  • VikingMermaid
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Is there still a group in Dawlish (S Devon)? I used to run with WRN ca 10 yrs ago here (leader was Sarah, who was a real…
    26 June 2018
  • Vic
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi, Any running clubs in stoke on trent? Northwood area? Trying to rehab and lose weight after slipped disc surgery last year.
    13 June 2018
  • Bigsare
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Is there. A group in Exeter still and when and where do they meet please
    2 May 2018
  • Verity
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi. I ran with WRN over 10 years ago and was registered with UKA. I am now trying to join another club. Can my link to WRN be…
    22 April 2018
  • JanieN
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Ha, ha - predictive text! Passing my message on - thanks
    7 April 2018
  • JanieN
    Re: The Women's Running Network
    Hi there I’m looking to reconnect with the Swansea group but can’t find the details. Any chance of either padding my message on or…
    7 April 2018