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Unless you’re already quite fit, aerobically, you should start with about 20 minutes. Also, you’ll probably have to do a walk-run. (Even if you’re physically capable of doing a continuous run, remember, we’re talking about running at around 75% of your maximum heart rate here. You’re not trying to push yourself to your limits.) In fact, if you’re really unfit, you’ll probably have to walk most of the way – maybe even the whole way. But don’t be disheartened. You’re still getting the same benefits out of it. So long as your heart rate is around 75% of its max, you’re doing the right thing. It doesn’t matter if you’re walking or running. (I know how frustrating this can feel. I like the feeling of running more than the feeling of walking. But rest assured, you’ll get there.)

Do this three to four times a week.

If you’re doing the same course each time (e.g. around the block or to the beach and back), time exactly how long you’re taking. (Most heart rate monitors will tell you how long they were monitoring your heart rate.) You’ll find that your time decreases each week. I’ve found this is all I need by way of motivation. You may also find it useful to set some goals. E.g. “By Christmas, I want to be able to go ‘round the block in 15 minutes,” rather than the 20 it’s taking you now. (In a later post, I’ll recommend some tools for tracking your times, as well as tracking the distance you’ve covered.)

After about three or four weeks, you can increase to four to five times per week, if you like. That’s about as often as you need to go, unless you want to become an elite athlete.

After about 10-12 weeks, you may find that you’re running half and walking half of each run (rather than walking the majority). That’s great! Also, by this time, your muscles, joints and bones should be adapted to their new load. So if you want to do more, you can. But instead of increasing the number of runs each week, increase the duration of your runs. So if you’re out for 20 minutes per run in week 10, go out for 25 minutes per run in week 11, and 35 minutes per run in week 12, and so on. (It’s important to think in terms of time, not distance. If you get too hung up on distance, you may push yourself too hard.)

By about week 17, you’ll probably find that you’re running a lot more than you’re walking. You may even be running the whole way.

That’s all there is to it!

All you really need to go for an ‘Easy’ run is a decent pair of running shoes, a heart rate monitor, and some clothes that will suit the weather and your exertion.

(NOTE: Obviously, you can run without a heart rate monitor, and simply estimate whether you’re running at an ‘Easy’ pace, based on how comfortable it feels. (e.g. Could you hold a conversation? Can you run with your mouth closed?). But my experience is that this is quite difficult to do. Sometimes I feel really comfortable with a high heart rate, and sometimes I feel a bit uncomfortable with a low heart rate. I find the heart rate monitor takes all the subjectivity out of it, so I can relax and enjoy myself.)

Some or all of the following may also be helpful (I’ll discuss each in much more detail in later posts).
- Running Tights
- Running Socks
- Running Journal
- GPS or Pedometer
- DryFit Clothes
- Vaseline
- Sweat Bands
- Specialist Running Pram
- Drink Holder
- Specialist Running Dog Leash

In my next post, I’ll discuss how far you should be running, and how often.

‘til then, happy running!

I’ve been thinking a bit about my last post (My improvements). Specifically about the fact that ‘Easy’ running gave me 2-5 times the performance improvement of hard running.

It wasn’t ‘til I actually wrote that blog entry that I realised I’d run twice as many runs at an ‘Easy’ pace as I had at a hard pace. When I did, I thought readers would probably say, “So what? You got twice the improvement, but you had to run twice as much to get it!” That’s what I would have said.

But that’s not actually true.

To begin with, if I’d been running hard, I wouldn’t have been able to make myself run 64 times in 77 days. The proof’s in the pudding: I was just as dedicated to my running when I was running hard, but I was still only able to manage 32 runs in about the same length of time.

And even if I’d been able to motivate myself to work so hard, I would surely have injured myself. (Injury through running too hard, too far or too often is one of the most common reasons novices give up running.)

What’s more, when you run hard, your body needs more time to recover afterwards. Without that recovery, the physiological adaptations that lead to performance improvement don’t occur. So even if I’d managed to push myself through the hard, hard work, without injury, and run 64 hard runs, I probably wouldn’t have improved much more than I already did with 32 runs.

I’m sure there are plenty of other reasons, but these are just some off the top of my head.

When it comes down to it, though, the most important thing to remember is that I got 2-5 times the improvement WITHOUT knowing I’d run twice as much. That’s got to be a telling fact.

‘til next time – happy running!

My improvements

May 16th 2008 02:13
I know I said I was 106.7kg when I first started back running, but that’s not technically true.

When I first started on the road (Nov 15 2007), I was only about 102kg. But a week later, I got married and we went on our honeymoon, and things got even further out of hand. I really pigged out and didn’t exercise at all. By the time I got home (Dec 12), I’d put on over 4kg!!! That was when I topped the scales at 106.7kg

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The benefits of Easy Running

May 9th 2008 04:41
In the running world, when you train at an ‘Easy’ pace, you’re said to be doing ‘Base Training’ or ‘Endurance Training’. These terms are both helpful because they describe exactly what you get out of it. You’re building a base of aerobic fitness; in doing so, you’re building up your endurance.

Base / Endurance training is critical to all runners – novice and elite, alike. Most elite runners spend more time running ‘Easy’ than on any other kind of run. (Only when they have their base do they build on it with speed and sprint work to cut valuable seconds off their race times - particularly leading into races (known as peaking

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The good news about running

May 6th 2008 04:57
So if you're not supposed to puff and strain when you go for a run, what are you supposed to do?

Simple: run slow
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The first few times I did a walk-run on the road, I walked up hills and ran on the flat. I covered mostly between 3 and 5km, and I made sure I was always puffing. Not out of control, but I wanted to keep my heart rate up, after all...

Over the next month or two, I managed to eliminate all the walking, and just ran the whole way. It was a little harder - I was puffing and sweating by the time I got home, but that's the whole idea, isn't it

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The only thing I did right when I started back running was my treadmill work. Not the fact that I was using a treadmill, but the WAY I was using it.

(Mind you, I didn't really know it was right at the time. Just got lucky

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I've run, on and off, for my whole life. Ok, let's be honest; it's been more off than on! I'm an overweight 35 year old male. I'm a dad, a husband and a business owner. And as you can probably guess, I'm a little short on time. So until recently, exercise didn't really get a look-in.

But I wasn't always fat and unfit. As recently as five years ago, I surfed, ran and cycled. I played soccer and volleyball. I did weights and indoor rock-climbing. I even climbed the Three Sisters (before you get too excited/offended, that's a unique rock formation in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney). I wasn't particularly good at any of those activities, but I had a lot of fun with 'em (except the Three Sisters - that was terrifying!!!), and I stayed pretty fit

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9 Posts dating from May 2008
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