Cardio • 17.01.2016 • Sascha Wingenfeld

Go from Walking to Running with These Expert Tips

What’s the best way to get started? Everyone who wants to begin running asks him- or herself this question. Just lace up your shoes and head out, right? For some, the last run was years ago, and your performance and fitness level are no longer what they used to be. Others may have never tried it before. Running expert and coach Sascha Wingenfeld offers the following tips: “Keep in mind that the first step is always the hardest. Look at your running as a “new start” and give you and your body enough time. You can’t make up for all the things you let slide over the years with one run. A few guidelines can help you avoid beginner’s mistakes and thus achieve your running goal.”

rear view close up of pink running shoes

Don’t be afraid to walk in between
Don’t try to run the whole distance right from the beginning. Start off by breaking up your run into short intervals of running and walking. After that, all you have to do is stick with the plan. “This way you reduce the overall intensity, and minimize the orthopedic stress of your running session,” explains Sascha. Over the course of time, you can lengthen the running parts and shorten the walking breaks until you can run your desired distance without walking. This basic form of interval training is especially beneficial for beginning runners.

Your first few running workouts could look something like the following:

      1. Workout: alternate between 3 min jogging + 2 min walking for a total of 20- 25 min
      2. Workout: alternate between 4 min jogging + 2 min walking for a total of 30 min
      3. Workout: alternate between 5 min jogging + 2 min walking for a total of 30 min
      4. Workout: alternate between 5 min jogging + 1 min walking for a total of 30-40 min
      5. Workout: alternate between 3-5-8-5-3 min jogging + 3 min walking for a total of 40 min
      6. Workout: alternate between 5-8 min jogging + 2 min walking for a total of 40-45 min
      7. Workout: alternate between 8 min jogging + 3 min walking for a total of 45 min
      8. Workout: alternate between 10 min jogging + 2 min walking for a total of 45 min

Take it easy
Many beginning runners tend to start off too fast because of the initial excitement. This often results in many first attempts ending after a few hundred meters. Plus, this can lead to overtraining and fatigue, which usually puts a premature end to any running ambitions. The reason for this is quite simple: People tend to lose interest pretty quickly when things aren’t fun. Therefore, the expert recommends starting off very easy. “Your body needs time and rest to get used to the new stresses and strains of running. Always choose a pace where you can carry on a conversation without gasping for breath, and one that seems too easy and relaxed to you,” suggests Sascha. Increasing your training slowly and giving your body time to adapt to the new demands will lead to long-term success, improved fitness, and better running technique.

Two friends stretching after their workout

Less is more
Make sure to start off with very short distances. Do you still have energy afterwards? No problem. Just increase the distance a little next session. But don’t overdo it, and remember that the best thing is to start slow. At first, your body needs time to adapt to the new training stimuli. Your heart, muscles, metabolism and circulation have to get used to the new workload. Give your body the time it needs to do this, and plan your training so that you rest and run on alternating days.

Variety is the spice of life
Don’t limit your ambitions to running. Especially when starting out, it is a good idea to boost your cardiovascular system through other types of sports. This keeps you working out, and allows you to balance out the muscular and orthopedic stresses of running. Plus, you can really push your body with such a training mix – an excellent complement to your running training.

Sascha’s bottom line
The first step out the door on your first run is always the hardest. Don’t let it bother you that you don’t know if you are doing everything right. Use your motivation and just get moving! Remember that “running is in your genes.” You can’t do anything wrong – unless you don’t leave the house and start your running program! 😉
Good luck and have fun running!

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Sascha Wingenfeld

Sascha, health trainer & active triathlete, has been coaching runners from beginners to professionals for over 10 years. “I love my job and I love running.”


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  • Raj Patil

    I like this post on fitness.