Do you even dream of getting off the couch and running a mile one day? What you need is a practical, simple plan to help get you off the couch and into those running shoes. While running a mile is easy for some people and harder for others, everyone can better at it. All you need is practice. Before attempting any running plans, it’s crucial to consult your doctor and make sure you have the right running shoes for you.
1. Start by walking
The first step is to take your time and start by walking as much as you can, and as far as you can. Any distance of walking can help your joints and your brain get used to moving legs. It also helps to slowly but surely get your heart rate up. Make sure you drink at least half a gallon of water before you go walking. Walk on established park trails or around your neighborhood, timing yourself using your watch, phone or a pedometer. Be sure to stretch for 5 minutes before and after the exercise (yes, walking is exercise!).
2. Maintain a steady pace
You want to attempt running a steady pace for 20 minutes. A steady pace for you means it doesn’t make you breathe too heavily or feel faint. Don’t worry about meeting the standard mile time of 12 minutes, but rather aim for trying to finish the whole distance by light jogging, going easy on your knees and joints. Jogging at a steady pace will help your heart get used to pumping oxygen for a longer period and give you a longer cooldown period after the run.
3. Have a strategy
You can run the first part of the quarter mile by sprinting as fast as you can. Then you can slow down for the next quarter-mile and go back to normal pace for the rest of the run. Plan how to spend your energy effectively during the run for optimum success. By alternating speeds, you will begin to complete the distance in a shorter time as your body adapts to the workload.
4. Landmarks of success
You can set physical landmarks for success along the way and reward yourself after the run. For example, if you see a newspaper stand and set it as your goal – if you reach it, you can treat yourself after the run. These can be powerful motivators to help you finish the race safely and successfully. Change the scenery and environment of your runs – run one mile at a school track zone and another at a local park; then compare how your body feels in both environments after a mile run.
5. Mix it
Try mixing cardio workouts with endurance workouts, including workouts other than running. A good cardio workout is a jump rope. Do 5 sets of 20 jump ropes on a level surface to build your endurance before attempting to run the run. If you have children or a dog, have them run the 5 miles with you to encourage you to finish the run.
6. Stick to it
It’s important to stick to your schedule; for a 5 miles run, it’s recommended to train three times a week – our body and your feet need some off days to recuperate and rest. You need to be consistent and intentional using your time to set the environment and running goal of meeting your 5 miles ahead of time.
7. Stay motivated
Remember that anyone can run 5 miles with the proper planning and training. It may not happen in one week or even a month, but if you follow these steps, you can run 5 miles safely and effectively and impress all your friends and family in the future. Go run a mile today – your body will thank you for it later.