How to maximise the first few months
I started running for the first time 1 week ago and i'm using an app (5K) to help me get up and running (excuse the pun). I've run the first 5days and skipped the first walk break as I'm keen. By the way, I've never run before and not been big on exercise, though only slightly overweight.
By the middle /end of my run I'm in line with the app as I'm out of breath and a little achy on the knees.
My questions are:
Thanks in advance for reading this
I'm really excited about learning to run and managing to run further each time, even if it is only a few 100 ft more
Hello, congratulations on starting to run! I'm further along the same programme as you and loving it too - it's great to feel an improvement. I've done quite a lot of research into the best way to stick to the programme and create a solid basis of fitness.
With that in mind, I would really caution you against running every day. The way that getting fit works is that if you run when you haven't before, you get lots of microscopic tears in your muscles. These then heal, and once they've healed, they're stronger than they were before. Then you run again, tear them again, and they heal again even stronger. You keep repeating this pattern until you have muscles that can withstand much more activitiy. But when you're just starting out, if you don't give yourself rest days, even if you feel fine your muscles won't be getting the time they need to heal up properly. So if you run every day, they just get more and more torn until eventually you get a serious muscle injury and you won't be able to run at all for a while. So please, take your rest days! It's for the good of your fitness. And then, once you've got a lot stronger a few weeks down the line, your muscles will be able to take the strain of running more often. I hope that makes sense - I know a lot of people who were really enthusiastic and they ran every day when they were starting out, and then they got injured out of the blue and had to stop. And there's nothing more discouraging than that, so it's best avoided!
As for water, you shouldn't need to take a drink if you're out running for less than an hour - just make sure you have a drink when you get back.
I don't see much problem with skipping the initial walks if you feel you can! Just make sure you don't overdo it and get discouraged, I think that's the biggest danger. Take it slow and steady, you'll get there. Good luck and look forward to hearing about your progress!
On days you aren't running you can replace the running with another form of cardio based excercise to improve your level of fitness and work on muscles you aren't using much when you run. Gyms are good for this as you can hop on the rowing machine, bikes etc. They are low impact and should help you quite a lot. Tennis is also great if that's an option for you.
The walks are probably there to make you have an easy session. Hard then easy sessions help you get the fitness without burning yourself out.
If as you say you are breathless and have achy knees after a session you are doing a hard session and need a slow recovery session. A walk would be good or a slow jog.. and I mean slow, almost walking. Your body needs time to recover, its not used to what you are doing.
I started off with 3 sessions of around 20-30 mins a week for the first month. First week 2 min run then 1 walk. Then 3 and 1, 5 and 1, 8 and 1. I always felt I could do more but I stuck with it and had no aches or pains to speak of.
Lottie sums it up prefectly 'Just make sure you don't overdo it and get discouraged, I think that's the biggest danger. Take it slow and steady, you'll get there'
'Pride comes before an injury'
Ironically my doctor told me to run twice a day to improve my lung function. I didn't quite manage that but spent 2 months running once a day. I got shin splints and very sore knees and saw very little improvement.
It's so tempting to keep pushing but resting really works. I went on holiday and did loads of walking but no running at all. When I got back I'd massively improved.
I usually only do a minute of walking before I start jogging but I go very slow to begin with. This should also help with your breathing. I think in these early stages it's best to go at a comfortable pace, even if it's almost as slow as your walking speed. I was amazed when I slowed down how much longer I could run for.
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