Thanks for all of your nice comments here, on Facebook and in person. I’m encouraged that someone other than my parents will read this.
A few of you have expressed interest in getting started and have asked for my advice. While I have more than, ahem, two decades’ worth of journalism and communications experience, my running experience is, well, not so broad. That said, I am an expert in what works for me, so I’ll tell you all about that here.
I mentioned before that my daughter and I started out about two years ago using the Couch to 5K app on our iPhones. It has been integral to my success, mostly because it doesn’t ask much of me. 30 minutes, three times a week? Sure, why not? Walking most of the way with very short periods of running? Done and done. Plus, you can go out at any time of day or night.
Because of injuries, I’ve actually used he app to start, then re-start my running at least three times. I’ve been grateful for it each time because the program is very do-able. I didn’t take part, but they also have an online community where you can find additional information and support.
Another option is joining a real-life C25k program. Our local running store, Playmakers, runs the classes here. I can see the appeal of having a built-in cheering section and coaches who presumably know what they’re doing (I did mention I’m new at this, right?). I promise, other than your dog, there won’t be anyone more happy to see you than a group of other runners. (Insert joke about both dogs and runners tinkling in the bushes here.)
By the end of the program, you’ll be running 3.1 miles. If this slow poke can do it, you certainly can, too.
But wait, there’s more!
One of my favorite newbie resources is Hal Higdon, a longtime marathoner and running guru. He is probably best known for his half- and full-marathon training plans, which are on his website for free. I happen to currently be using his plan to train for my first half (13.1 miles) in September.
Hal, why do I love thee? His explanations of the different terminology are in plain English. His plans are flexible so that you can switch what you do each day as long as you do it all in the allotted week. And — get this — he has a walking plan. If you haven’t exercised in a while or would really just like to walk instead of run, Hal’s the guy for you.
I highly recommend that you print out his plan and post it somewhere accessible so you can cross out each day. Talk about satisfying.
Regardless of what plan you choose, please make a trip to your local running store to get fitted properly. I could have avoided two weeks of painful shin splints if I’d gotten the right shoes first.
If you ignore my shoe advice, here’s another great newbie resource. The Runner’s World magazine website has videos of exercises you can do to help with anything from shin splints to Plantar