Problem is, every time you try, you manage for a week or two then stop. Complicate training plans with complex intervals are intimidating and overwhelming.
First, know you aren’t alone in your struggle. We’ve all been there. But running doesn’t have to be so complicated or hard. The key is to make it fun and keep it simple. When you do, running becomes a habit for life.
Here, we have a learn-to-run strategy that is so simple, anyone can do it. This is how many people learned and how coaches teach new runners. It doesn’t involve intervals, speed, calculations, or big confusing words.
Start every running workout with five minutes of walking to prepare your body for the demands of running. Start out at an easy effort and progress to a purposeful walking pace by the end of the five minutes.
Alternate running until you hear your breath, and walking until you catch your breath for a total of 20 minutes. No formulas or intervals or metrics to track—just run according to your body and breath. You may start out with 15 to 20 seconds of running and 2 to 3 minutes of walking until you catch your breath. No worries! That may be where your body is at fitness-wise right now. Maybe you can run for one full minute and only need to walk for one minute—that’s great, too. Go with it, tune into your body, and avoid pushing to go longer.
The next workout may be close to the same as well. But a few weeks down the road, that short run will grow to 30 or 45 seconds or even a minute to two minutes, and the time it takes to catch your breath will drop. That’s when it starts to get fun, because you feel the difference as you go.
Stick With 20 Minutes
Keep the total time of the running portion of the workout to 20 minutes until you build up to running 20 minutes total. That is, maintain the total time of the workout and allow your body time to adapt to the demands of running until you go farther.
Let’s face it: If it hurts, the chance of us repeating the activity again are slim to none. When you stick with a plan that is based on your body and avoid pushing for a certain time or pace, you end up finishing happy. And when you’re happy, you want to do it again and again. Running happiness leads to consistency and develops into habit.
Be the tortoise, not the hare. Keep your running effort easy–this will become habit over time. In other words, don’t try to break the world record out there, keep it easy and one step above your fastest walking pace.
Invest five minutes to cooling down and gradually bringing your body back to its resting state. Like the warmup, it bridges the gap between running and reality and aids in the recovery process.