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Frequently Asked Questions:
How to Begin a Running Program from Ground Zero

I'm not a runner but consider myself to be in good physical condition as I participate in some aerobic sports/activities. How do I go about beginning a running program?

Even if you've never run a step in your life, the schedule that follows will enable you to become a runner in a matter of a few shorts weeks. Where you choose to begin this schedule depends upon your current fitness level. If you're just getting into a cardiovascular exercise program, start at the beginning of Week #1 with brisk walking and proceed through the schedule as indicated. For individuals who presently are quite active (who at a minimum, can easily walk at a brisk pace and/or can jog non-stop for two minutes), pick up the schedule at Week #7. It is very important to keep in mind that to minimize your chances of incurring an injury, be patient and follow the schedule. By all means, avoid the urge to do more than is specified. The numbers indicated on the schedule refer to minutes. During the early weeks of the schedule, feel free to break up the cumulative minutes indicated for running into smaller segments if you feel it necessary. You can also modify the schedule to fit into your busy lifestyle so long as you keep the sequence of runs the same. For example, if Sunday is not a good day for you to run, the mileage indicated on that day can be shifted to another day of the week as long as the sequence for the remainder of runs during the week are also shifted.

The pace of your running should be at an aerobic level (where you are able to breathe easily without pushing yourself). In other words, run very relaxed. That is, you should be able to talk in complete sentences without gasping for air. If you find yourself "huffing and puffing", you are probably running too fast and need to slow down the pace. In the beginning, the key to success and evaluating your progress should be based on the cumulative minutes you are able to run without stopping rather than concerning yourself with pace. With consistent training over a period of weeks, your running form will become more refined and efficient. This, in itself, often translates into a faster pace without the need for you to overload your present musculo-skeletal system. Consider running for a cumulative time goal rather than running the same measured route day after day. By doing so you will stay motivated and thus avoid burnout.

Beginner Walk/Run Schedule
Week# Sun. Mon. Tue. Wed. Thu. Fri. Sat. Total Minutes
1 W-8 Rest W-10 Rest W-11 Rest W-8 W-37
2 W-12 Rest W-14 Rest W-16 Rest W-10 W-52
3 W-18 Rest W-20 Rest W-22 Rest W-12 W-72
4 W-24 Rest W-26 Rest W-28 Rest W-12 W-90
5 W-30 Rest W-30 Rest W-30 Rest W-30 W-120
6 W-20 Rest W-20 Rest W-26 Rest W-20 W-86
7 R-2
W-28
Rest R-3
W-27
Rest R-4
W-26
Rest W-30 R-9
W-81
8 R-5
W-25
Rest R-6
W-24
Rest R-8
W-22
Rest R-6
W-24
R-25
W-95
9 R-10
W-20
Rest R-11
W-19
Rest R-12
W-18
Rest R-8
W-22
R-41
W-79
10 R-14
W-16
Rest R-16
W-14
Rest R-18
W-12
Rest R-10
W-20
R-58
W-62
11 R-20
W-10
Rest R-22
W-8
Rest R-24
W-6
Rest R-12
W-18
R-78
W-42
12 R-26
W-4
Rest R-28
W-2
Rest R-30 Rest R-14
W-16
R-96
W-22
13 R-20 Rest R-20
W-10
Rest R-26
W-4
Rest R-16
W-14
R-82
W-26
14 R-30 Rest R-25
W-5
Rest R-30 Rest R-18
W-12
R-103
W-17
15 R-33 Rest R-30 Rest R-30 Rest R-20
W-10
R-113
W-10
16 R-36 Rest R-30 Rest R-30 Rest R-20
W-10
R-116
W-10
17 R-39 Rest R-30 Rest R-30 Rest R-30 R-129
18 R-20
W-10
Rest R-20
W-10
Rest R-26
W-4
Rest R-20
W-10
R-86
W-34

Key
W=Cumulative minutes walking
R=Cumulative minutes running



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