Running - Give me some advice

So today begins a concerted effort to begin getting healthy. I’d like to start running - nothing herculean, just something. (I’m thinking start out at 20 minutes a day, find out where I am, and find a program to scale me up to something structured.) I plan on going to a running store tonight to get fitted for shoes - I want to eliminate as many excuses as I can before I get going, and I can very easily see me blaming bad shoes for something.

I’d like to track my progress, and know there are a zillion programs and apps that do this. I have an iPhone and a 6th gen. nano (with the Nike+ app) that can seemingly all keep track of things. The nano certainly makes more sense, since it’s essentially weightless - and the iPhone is bulky. But the iPhone can track my route, etc. Thoughts?

Couch to 5K.
Best plan around.

Runkeeper is a nice program on the iPhone, or there are tons of Couch to 5k specific apps.

I totally endorse Couch to 5K.

I would add this, though; do not be afraid to go even slower than Couch to 5K. I believe it gets to you 5K in 27 steps, which should take 54 days (you’re supposed to rest at least one day in between runs.) If it seems a lot to take, you know what? Do every step twice. 27 times 2, 54 steps. Take 108 days to get there. Why not?

In the grand scheme of things if it takes you three and a half months to do 5K runs, is that really all that worse than taking eight weeks? No, it isn’t, because the idea is to get to the point that you’re doing 5K runs 3 times a week. It’s a plan to set yourself up for the rest of your life. If it takes you a few extra weeks to get to where you’ll be doing something for years and year that will help keep you healthy, take those extra weeks. You must push yourself, but if you push yourself too hard you will stop, and the effort will fail.

I’m a 49 year old guy and I have to sing the praises of Couch to 5K as well. I started the program about two years ago and once I got my routine established, I’ve been running 5 miles three times a week (mostly) since. Good luck!

Thanks for the Couch to 5k recommendations, all. I’ve certainly seen it mentioned a lot on the boards, but I guess I never saw what its point was (i.e. I thought it was to gear up for just running a 5k once). Getting into “running 5k 3x a week” seems like a much loftier and exciting goal.

I like to analyze the shit out of things, so would love to maximize my ways to do so. I have one of those ridiculously over-priced scales that links up to my wifi, and can be paired up with various iOS apps, etc. including RunKeeper. Does that sound like an ideal use of technology, or is there a better program? At some point, I’ll probably get one of those monitors, but that will be a reward I’ll work towards.

Not sure where you’re located - if you’re in Canada go to any given Running Room store and join their “Learn to Run” program. I highly recommend it. They start you running 1 minute, walking 1 minute, then running 2 minutes and walking 1 minute, up to running 10 minutes and walking one minute (“10 & 1’s”.) If you’re not near a Running Room store or the course time is inconvenient for you the program is also available online at the Running Room website.

Find yourself a 5K race nearby and sign up for it so you have motivation.

Good luck!

Map My Run is excellent too for the iPhone. It traces your route as you run it and keeps track of the time & distance, then you can look at your route on the map later.

Another vote for RunKeeper. If you expand into other activities, it can track all kind of stuff: cycling, hiking, cross-country skiing…

Another vote also for a C25K program. Something structured that will keep your from getting all over-enthusiastic and injuring yourself is a very good idea.

Here is a different thought. Ditch the technology. Ditch the programs. Ditch the expensive shoes. Forget about proper hydration, nutrition and optimal performance goals. Keep it simple and let your own experiences guide you. Get comfortable shoes, shirt and shorts and go run a mile. If you can’t do even a mile just do what you can. Forget the $120 running shoes and go to the local sporting goods store and try on the $40 running shoes until you find a pair that feels comfortable. Forget about things like supination, pronation, fallen arches, etc.

In other words, the less overhead you add to this the more likely you are to keep at it. And if you do stick with it, the progress will be self-evident. You won’t need an app to tell you you are getting faster and more fit.

At this stage it matters not if you can do a mile in 10:00 or 11:30 or even 6:00. Hydration is not important if you are out for just a 30 minute run. Eventually you might reach a stage where those things become important, but not now. What you need now is to just run and develop the habit of running. You’ll figure out your abilities and set goals all on your own.

My own experiences are that technology and all the latest and greatest “stuff” only tends to get in the way of beginners.

Yeah, it is. No, you don’t need to hydrate during your run, but that doesn’t negate the need to ensure that you are well hydrated prior to the run.

I want to start running again also, I was about 45 the last time I took up running. I did a walk run for about 30 min every morning. Mostly walk, by the end of the second week I could run 1 mile without walking. I didn’t push myself too hard. When I started off I was doing about 50 yards between walks is all I could comfortably do. One thing that was suggested to me that really helped a lot was a warm up that involved fast walking bending stretching for about 20 min worth of calithentic type movements without the jumping jacks.

Thanks for your suggestion, but absolutely not. I will come up with any number of excuses, and technology has been the one thing in the past that has worked very well in keeping me going.

Another vote for the couch to 5k program. I did that and once I finished I kept increasing the distance until I was regularly running 10k with a longer run thrown in each week. I distinctly remember getting to the point where I didn’t just enjoy the sense of achievement I got after a run, but started really enjoying the running itself, to the point where I’d miss it if I couldn’t run for a day or two. Unfortunately my body didn’t like running much and after getting a few injuries and having a couple of close calls with running induced bowel movements I shifted my focus to cycling. The biggest thing with exercise is finding something that you enjoy doing. If you don’t look forward to it you will find it more difficult to motivate yourself. As I mentioned before, initially I was motivated by the good feeling I had after finishing a run but after a while the activity itself was its own reward.

I agree with everything you wrote except this. While you might not need to spend $120 on shoes I do believe all runners can benefit from properly fitted running shoes and at least a basic gait analysis. Find a good running store nearby, get fitted and use those shoes. There are a lot of crappy running shoes (and good ones that aren’t right for you) out there; and they can make a big difference in whether you enjoy and continue with the sport.

I disagree with almost all of this post, particularly the part about getting cheap shoes. You are doing the right thing, going to a running store and getting fitted. Different feet have different needs. You need an expert to identify yours. Most will offer several choices, try them all on and go with the ones that feel most right. Ignore the shoes appearance, color scheme, etc.

Good luck, and keep us posted!


I’m no expert runner…in fact I just started running in March. Wearing the right shoes for your feet and gait is extremely important not only for comfort, but to avoid injury. Go to a running store and get fitted. Tell the consultant if you have any budget concerns and they will work with you to find the right shoe.

As for getting started…if you go out and try to run 20 minutes on your first day out, you will be very disappointed in your performance and probably quit. I joined a running club that has a Running Start program…very similar to C25K, but even more gentle in it’s approach. You don’t need a running club or course, but I found I enjoyed the company of other people, and they kept me accountable for showing up. If you use an app like RunKeeper, you can program your intervals however you like, plus listen to your own playlist to keep you motivated. Listening to music also helps you to not focus on your breathing. The program I followed is this:

Each week you run for 3 days taking at least a one day break between each run. I run on Tue, Thur, and Sat.

Week 1 - 5min brisk walk/1min run/1min walk (repeat run 8 more times)/5min cool down walk
Week 2 - 5min brisk walk/1.5min run/1min walk (repeat run 8 more times)/5 min cool down walk (this is the hardest week because you are increasing your running time per interval by 50%…it gets easier each week)
Week 3 - 5 min brisk walk/2min run/1/2/1/2/1/2/1/2/1/2/1/2/1/2/5
Week 4 - 5/3/1/3/1/3/1/3/1/3/1/3/1/3/5 cool down
Week 5 - 5/4/1/4/1/4/1/4/1/4/1/4/5 cool down
Week 6 - 5/5run/1/5/1/5/1/5/1/5/5 cool down
Week 7 - 5/6/1/6/1/6/1/6/5 cool down
Week 8 - 5/7/1/7/1/7/5 cool down
Week 9 - 5/8/1/8/1/8/5 cool down
Week 10 - 5/9/1/9/1/9/5 cool down
Week 11 - 5/10/1/10/1/10/5 cool down

At this point, you are ready to run a 5K race, knowing that you can walk for a minute when you need to, then continue. After completing week 11, I was able to run for over 35 minutes straight without having to walk (I walked up a very steep hill), and completed my first 5K at right around 45 minutes. A couple weeks later, I did a 4 mile race and walked for about 30 seconds around mile 3 and completed the race in 52 minutes. This past Saturday, I ran a 5K, had to walk briefly several times due to not running for 2 weeks prior, but still finished in 39:57.

I start training for a half marathon this week to be run in October or November.

To each his own, as I’ve said. I run in $40 shoes that I got at the local sporting goods store just by trying on shoes that felt comfortable. I became a far better runner when I ignored all the expert advice and just ran with what worked for me. Some told me I couldn’t POSSIBLY run without compression socks. Others told me I just HAD to have the hydration belt and gels. Others told me the cotton shorts I was wearing were all wrong or that I needed a proper running shirt. Proper warm up was critical. Proper cool down was essential. Eat this, drink that, heart rate in this zone, intervals at that rate, etc., etc., etc.

If having the expensive shoes and gadgets gets people moving, I’m all for it. But it isn’t necessary. Not by a long shot, particularly someone just starting out. The trick for me for starting and maintaining my fitness has been simplifying it, not complicating it. Most times I run I don’t even wear a watch. Just comfortable shoes, shorts and a t-shirt. I run 30 to 40 miles a week, most of those miles at a sub 7:00 pace.

My local running store doesn’t have a pair of shoes under $90. I bought a pair there once after they “analyzed” my gait and recommended a pair of shoes for me. I bought into the notion that maybe if I had proper shoes I’d run better. They actually ended up being less comfortable than the cheap pair I was using and I got slower and had more injuries.

Most of the advice is geared towards making running as comfortable as possible, which I agree with. I just offered a counter opinion to all these thoughts that you need high tech this, that or the other thing to start and keep running and being comfortable. There are those runners that are more successful by keeping it as simple as possible and who can still qualify for Boston.

Hey Munch,

Between my last post in this thread - a little over an hour ago - and now, I went out and did Day One of the Couch-To-5K. I’m sitting here sweating as I type this. :slight_smile:

This thread inspired me out of the blue. Day One was harder than I expected, and a hell of a lot harder than it should have been. Of course, I had just eaten lunch and I am way, way out of shape. I’m no stranger to running though; I do have a full marathon on my resume.

Anyway, go for it. Along with anyone else reading this who might need a little motivation.

cmosdes - While I stand by my statements, I don’t disagree with your “to each his own” philosophy, and I certainly don’t doubt that what you do works for you. I’ll never run a sub-7:00 mile, that’s pretty impressive. Anyway, I’m sure we can agree that running - with our without all the goodies - is better than not running at all.