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How to Start a Running Program

If you think you would enjoy jogging or running, here's how to get started. First, check with your doctor and get a good pair of running shoes. Start out by jogging slowly until your legs feel heavy or hurt or you feel tired. Then stop for the day, even if you have taken only a few steps. Do this every day or every other day. You should be able to work up to the point where you can jog slowly for at least 20 minutes. If you're happy with this program, you don't have to go any further. However, if you want to improve, follow the training methods that competitive runners use.

On one day, start out slowly and gradually pick up the pace. When you start to feel uncomfortable, slow down. When you recover, pick the pace up again. On the next day, if your legs feel stiff, don't try to run. If your legs feel fresh, run very slowly. Try to do these gradual pickup workouts every other day. Never do them when your legs are stiff or tired.

After a few months of alternating days of pickups and slow runs, you are ready to take the next step: intervals and longer runs. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, run faster. On Tuesday, try to run 220 yards fast (half a track length), rest and then repeat the 220-yard runs until your legs start to feel stiff. On Thursday, try to run two to five miles fairly fast, and on Sunday, try to increase your distance so you can run for at least one hour. On the other days, either run slowly, or if your legs feel stiff, take the day off.

Checked 9/29/08

May 10th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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