Running Newbie?

I had a friend/former student ask me about starting training for running. This is most of a Facebook message reply that I sent her.

Take a look at:

COUCH TO 5K - It's a training program that you can download to most phones that is designed for people just starting out. Just start the app on your phone and it lets you know when to do your run/walk intervals. The goal is to get you running a full 5K. I'm a run/walk type of person myself so I've still got a long way to do a full 5K running although I can run 1-1½ miles at a time if I'm feeling really good. I THINK this app is on sale for 99 cents right now (12/27/11)...usually about $5.

HAL HIGDON is a well known marathon coach. He has a website where you can access his training plans that you can print out. Here are his 5K plans.  From a quick read through it starts you out with a 1.5 mile run...if that's too much start with his walking plan (just click on Novice and you'll see a link to it about mid-page). He has a FB page as well.

JEFF GALLOWAY is another well known marathon coach. His focus is more of a run/walk program where you "rest" by taking frequent walk breaks early in the run thereby having more energy to finish the run strong. Here's his 5K training plan that you can print.  He has a Facebook page as well.

JOHN "THE PENGUIN" BINGHAM is another well known coach. He strongly advocates a slow progression and the focus is more on finishing without injury. He has several training programs through ranging from a full walking 5K to advanced running 5K. They are pricey though at $24.95. Active does provide a training diary of sorts so that you can track your progress. You can look at a sample plan of your choice at his 5K training plans.

I decided to train with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's TEAM IN TRAINING since I have to have something to motivate me such as fundraising or shaving my head. Our coach follows a modified version of Galloway's training based on whatever our base was. The New Mexico Team in Training will probably have a 10K during the Fall season up in ABQ. They are currently taking applications for summer half marathons. I probably won't be working with them again until Fall 2013 when I hope to do the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco in October.

Once you do begin training...

BE SURE TO LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!! Being the stubborn person I am I didn't and ended up laying off running for 2 months + still in PT, losing my Zumba days because of the injury (hoping to start back in January) all due to IT band injury. Now I'm dealing with turf toe (sprain of the great toe) and am fearful that I may actually have a metatarsal fx...not good since my half marathon is only 4½ weeks away! (But I'm still going to try to do a short run today or tomorrow and decide if I need to see a doc. Stupid me.).

DO NOT RUN MORE THAN 3-4 TIMES A WEEK as a beginner. I'd say not more than 3 times. I started by running on the track at the nearby middle school (easier on the joints) until I got to 3 miles then moved to the road. I've only run on our treadmill a few times. If you do run on the track alternate directions each'll help to keep stress on the joints more even.

RUNNING ON A TREADMILL...set the incline to 1 initially and increase it to 3 with time. The mechanical nature of the machine will make running on it seem easy, then you get on the real road and it's harder (you have to move yourself versus the machine moving you). A setting of 2-2.5 is the most "realistic" setting and will make the change to roadwork a little easier, but not perfect.

RUNNING/WALKING SHOES...Get a proper pair fitted at a specialty running shop!! These shops don't include places like Foot Locker, Finish Line, etc. They should take a look at your gait to see if you're neutral, suppinate or pronate. Some just do a visual by having you walk across the room, others will have you run on a treadmill and videotape so that you can watch as well.

Some shops that I can recommend in the New Mexico/Amarillo & Lubbock, TX area:

Get Fit in Amarillo:  They do a visual gait evaluation. Good service too!

Heart & Sole Sports in ABQ:  Treadmill/video evaluation. Good knowledge base.

Athlete's Edge in ABQ:  Haven't bought shoes there yet...they do treadmill/video eval.

People in Lubbock seem to like Foot Tech:
I haven't been in there yet, limited hours on the weekend.

TECH CLOTHING...If you start out walking not too much of a big deal but if you start running invest in some technical gear (especially if you sweat a bit). Nike, Asics, Reebock, etc. Big 5 has some stuff (look for tags that indicate some sort of moisture wicking). My favorite brands are Nike, Brooks and Saucony. Tech clothing also applies to socks!! Cotton is not your friend when it comes to running and sweating. However, there is a new cotton based wicking material that is relatively new that I don't have any experience with. Also for the winter you may want to invest in some SmartWool socks (I still need to get some) to keep the feet warm and may also want to look for at least water resistant shoes. I like to run in the snow/light rain so I have a water resistant/wind proof jacket, tech arm warmers, tech gloves, tech beanie and a few running caps. Be sure to look at what weight the clothing is especially when it comes to pants/capris/tights and jackets...they make them to either keep you cool or warm. Also, as an aside, I don't wear running shorts...I'm not comfy with my posterior so I opt for running skorts. If you are the same way, take a look at websites like,, and more...they give options for different lengths of skirts/skorts.

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