Maybe it’s just me, but autumn seems to be the season of 5k’s, at least in the Southeast. And I read recently that September is the new January — a time to revisit goals and go at them again with renewed vigor.
I’m all for that!
Let’s jump right in, with a plan for learning (or RE-learning) how to run. First up: hire a coach like Sherry Oswalt at DivasRun, if you can. There are lots of do-it-yourself resources as well — places like Coolrunning‘s Couch to 5k Plan or Active.com have well-written plans. Don’t be afraid of going it alone — as the Bioenergetics and Human Performance Research Group at the University of Exeter in England recently learned, you CAN teach yourself to run and improve on your own. The New York Times wrote a great article about it here.
My advice* is to start small with interval training, and work up.
Tabata intervals are a great beginning — they’re short enough that anyone can do them but they pack one hell of a cardiovascular punch — check out this post on how to train Tabata-style and this one on intervals for new moms.
I also recommend getting social with your runs.
That can be something as simple as going for a run with a friend — or as high-tech as joining the online community at cMEcompete. Support is a key factor in continuing any workout program, so make sure you include others.
Speaking of including others, how about those kiddos? Get the whole family in on the action, for lots of reasons. It’s good for them! It’s good for you! It sets a great example for lifelong health! Kids can start just about the same way you do — try playing age-appropriate games in a Tabata format. Preschoolers can jump FAST for 20 seconds and rest for 10….can you keep up? Grade schoolers can sprint like crazy for 20-on and 10-off….can you beat them?
So, tell me: what are your fitness goals — is running included? How will you start?
*Who am I to give advice? Good question. I’m a double ACE-certified fitness professional (Group Exercise and Lifestyle-Weight Management Coaching) with 20+ years of experience. I’m a self-taught runner — started around age 34, after many years of thinking that I “couldn’t” run because my feet splayed out duck-style from so many years of ballet. And, just because I can’t get enough of this stuff, I’m specialty-certified in Muscle Management, Holistic Fitness, Perinatal Fitness, Golf Conditioning, Sports Nutrition, and soon to be certified in Youth Fitness.
(Phew! Yeah, I’m a bit of a fitness freak. I’m ok with that.)