9e1cMzuEMTwNIOY9e4MLjXMYLZe5gditzRmHjkqbuUsAt the beginning of October, there are 2 local runs, the Portland Marathon and the Girlfriends Run for a Cure that will have thousands of runners and walkers participating from around the Northwest. If anyone is going to finish either of these events strong and injury free, it’s important to start the training process now!  Based on that, I decided to dedicate my next series to helping someone prepare for a running event.  Keep in mind, this running program will also work for those of you who will be walking which is a way to get to the finish line with considerably less impact and strain on your body and fabulous health benefits!

With that said, most runners can attest to the benefits of running.  Running has been proven to be one of the most effective methods for improving your cardiovascular system, reducing body fat and maintaining a toned, lean physique.  Not only that, it’ll also help improve your self-esteem and confidence and decrease your risk of experiencing health disorders or disease.  Running is an incredible form of exercise but it can also cause its share of problems.

The Running “Terrible Toos”…..

…are often the leading culprit and cause of most running injuries.  Too much, too soon, too hard, too fast, too long…It’s easy to imagine how this can happen.  You wake up and decide today is the day you’re going to start your new training program.  In fact, you’ll even register for the local running event to keep you motivated. Keep in mind, that’s the absolute best way to get to the finish line – just register!  Then you’re committed!  So click on either link above and then sign up.

Once you decide to start a running program, you lace up your Nikes and head out the door.  Your ego dictates that a run-walk is for wimps and if you’re gonna go out for just 10 minutes, why even go at all?  So 30-40 minutes later, you’re finished and feeling proud.  Tomorrow you do the same.  Maybe you follow this program a few more times.  And then a week or two later, you start to experience those nagging aches and pains in your knees, shins or feet common to many new runners.  You decide the pain is not worth it and give up your hopes of finishing the event.  Your short-lived running career is over.

Consider this.  With each running stride, your body is forced to absorb impact forces as great as 3x your body weight.  So if you weigh 150 pounds, imagine 450 pounds of force pounding through your muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons with each foot strike. You can imagine that over the course of a five-mile run, the amount of force the body absorbs is tremendous.  Due to the nature of the sport, specific imbalances and areas of weakness can result.  For these reasons, proper progression is critical if you expect to continue running on a long-term basis.

So if you are not presently running three times per week and cannot comfortably complete a run without stopping, I recommend you try the following program as you get started.

Learn to Run Program

Week 1 (Run 1 min. Walk 4 min) x6
Week 2 (Run 2 min. Walk 3 min) x6
Week 3 (Run 3 min. Walk 2 min) x6
Week 4 (Run 4 min. Walk 1 min) x6
Week 5 (Run 5 min. Walk 1 min) x5
Week 6 (Run 6 min. Walk 1 min) x5
Week 7 (Run 7 min. Walk 1 min) x5
Week 8 (Run 8 min. Walk 1 min) x5
Week 9 (Run 9 min. Walk 1 min) x5
Week 10 (Run 10 min. Walk 1 min) x5

*Follow each week’s program 3x/week on alternating days.
* Remember to warmup and cooldown for about 5-10 minutes of walking

As you increase your mileage, feel free to try the Galloway approach which recommends running 10 minutes and then walking for a minute for the entire distance.  Please, please listen to your body.  And remember, you can complete this program by walking only and just vary your pace between a harder and more moderate pace– you never have to run!  It’s up to you!  Stay tuned next week as we discuss other critical aspects of Learning to Run safely!

If you are looking for a group to train with, we are starting a Running Clinic on August 14th

Sherri McMillan, M.Sc. has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for over 25 years and has received numerous industry awards including International Personal Trainer and Fitness Presenter of the Year. She is the author of five books including “Go For Fit – the Winning Way to Fat Loss” and “Fit over Forty” and is the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs.  She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver and can be seen running, hiking or cycling with her two children, Brianna and Jackson.  She can be reached at www.nwPersonalTraining.com or www.ShapeupwithSherri.com

Note:  As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started.  Contact 360.574.7292 for more details. 

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at nwpersonaltraining.com.

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