COACHES TIPS

A CONSERVATIVE PLAN FOR THOSE MAKING THE TRANSITION FROM WALKING TO RUNNING

By Coach Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS

Making the transition to a running program from a walking program is an important time. Many people make the mistake of not doing this gradually, and injury is a common result. Though walking and running are similar activities, they are not exactly the same and your body will need time to adapt to the increased ground reaction forces.


When is it safe to make the transition to running?


When you've been consistently walking at least 10 miles a week you're probably safe to begin the transition to running. Obviously this isn't a hard and fast rule though - some people can do fine on even less mileage and others need an even greater amount. You'll know you're ready when you've been walking consistently for at least a month, and you're not fighting any injuries. Don't start a running program if you're currently walking and fighting an injury.


HOW do I transition?


Most people do well to walk the first 5-10 minutes of their session, before beginning to include short bouts of running. This allows the body time to warm up. It is also helpful to include one or two repetitions of the calf and hamstring stretches after this initial walk time, before you try some short bouts of running.


Pace on the running segments shouldn't be fast, just ease into a nice comfortable run and try to keep your shoulders relaxed and your posture tall.


Duration on the running segments should be about 30 seconds at first, and separate these by at least 3-4 minutes of walking. This sounds conservative and it is... for good reason - many people get tripped up in this transition phase and get injured. It is better to be conservative than be injured. You'll gradually lengthen the running segments and shorten the walking segments until you're able to run continuously. Don't feel as if you have to do this every time out the door though. It is wise to hold at each "level" for more than one session before increasing. The program outlined below is a good start for those who've never run and will get you going in about 3 months.


Week one - Total mileage = 15 miles. You'll start with 30 seconds of running for every 4 minutes of walking.


Day one - walk half mile, stretch, then do 30 seconds easy pace running followed by 4 minutes walking. Continue this for 2.25 miles, then cool down walk the last .25 miles. Total distance = 3 miles
Day two - walk only. Total distance 2 miles
Day three - repeat day one
Day four - walk only. Total distance 2 miles
Day five - rest
Day six - LONG day - warm up walk and stretch as you did day one, then for 4 miles do the 30 seconds running and 4 minutes walking. Cool down walk .5 miles. Total distance = 5 miles
Day seven - REST


Week two - Total mileage 15 miles. This week you'll do 45 seconds running for every 4 minutes walking. Still just walk the "easy" days.


Day one - walk half mile, stretch, then do 45 seconds easy pace running followed by 4 minutes walking. Continue this for 2.25 miles, then cool down walk the last .25 miles. Total distance = 3 miles
Day two - walk only. Total distance 2 miles
Day three - repeat day one
Day four - walk only. Total distance 2 miles
Day five - rest
Day six - LONG day - warm up walk and stretch as you did day one, then for 4 miles do the 30 seconds running and 4 minutes walking. NOTE that this isn't the 45 second spurt of running as you've been doing earlier in the week... this is a long workout therefore less intense. Cool down walk .5 miles. Total distance = 5 miles
Day seven - REST


Week three - Total mileage 15 miles. This week 60 seconds running and 3 minutes walking.


Day one - walk half mile, stretch, then do 60 seconds easy pace running followed by 3 minutes walking. Continue this for 2.25 miles, then cool down walk the last .25 miles. Total distance = 3 miles
Day two - walk only. Total distance 2 miles
Day three - repeat day one
Day four - walk only. Total distance 2 miles
Day five - rest
Day six - LONG day - warm up walk and stretch as you did day one, then for 4 miles do the 45 seconds running and 4 minutes walking. Cool down walk .5 miles. Total distance = 5 miles
Day seven - REST


Week four - Total mileage 15 miles. This week 90 seconds running to 2.5 minutes walking on the "medium" days and 45 sec running to 4 minutes walking on your "easy" days.


Day one - walk half mile, stretch, then do 90 seconds easy pace running followed by 2.5 minutes walking. Continue this for 2.25 miles, then cool down walk the last .25 miles. Total distance = 3 miles
Day two - walk half mile, stretch, then do 45 seconds easy pace running followed by 4 minutes walking. Continue this for 1.25 miles, then cool down walk the last .25 miles. Total distance = 2 miles
Day three - repeat day one
Day four - Repeat day two
Day five - rest
Day six - LONG day - warm up walk and stretch as you did day one, then for 4 miles do the 60 seconds running and 4 minutes walking. Cool down walk .5 miles. Total distance = 5 miles
Day seven - REST


Week five - Total mileage 15 miles. This week 2 minutes running to one minute walking.


Day one - walk half mile, stretch, then do 2 minutes easy pace running followed by 1 minute walking. Continue this for 2.25 miles, then cool down walk the last .25 miles. Total distance = 3 miles
Day two - walk half mile, stretch, then do 60 seconds easy pace running followed by 3 minutes walking. Continue this for 1.25 miles, then cool down walk the last .25 miles. Total distance = 2 miles
Day three - repeat day one
Day four - Repeat day two
Day five - rest
Day six - LONG day - warm up walk and stretch as you did day one, then for 4 miles do 2 minutes running and 3 minutes walking. Cool down walk .5 miles. Total distance = 5 miles
Day seven - REST


Week six - Total mileage 15 miles. This week 3 minutes running to one minute walking.


Day one - walk half mile, stretch, then do 3 minutes easy pace running followed by 1 minute walking. Continue this for 2.25 miles, then cool down walk the last .25 miles. Total distance = 3 miles
Day two - walk half mile, stretch, then do 2 minutes easy pace running followed by 2 minutes walking. Continue this for 1.25 miles, then cool down walk the last .25 miles. Total distance = 2 miles
Day three - repeat day one
Day four - Repeat day two
Day five - rest
Day six - LONG day - warm up walk and stretch as you did day one, then for 4 miles do 2 minutes running and 2 minutes walking. Cool down walk .5 miles. Total distance = 5 miles
Day seven - REST


Week seven - Total mileage 15 miles. This week 5 minutes running to one minute walking


Day one - walk quarter mile, stretch, then do 5 minutes easy pace running followed by 1 minute walking. Continue this for 2.5 miles, then cool down walk the last .25 miles. Total distance = 3 miles
Day two - walk quarter mile, stretch, then do 3 minutes easy pace running followed by 1 minutes walking. Continue this for 1.5 miles, then cool down walk the last .25 miles. Total distance = 2 miles
Day three - repeat day one
Day four - Repeat day two
Day five - rest
Day six - LONG day - warm up walk and stretch as you did day one, then for 4.5 miles do 3 minutes running and 1 minutes walking. Cool down walk .25 miles. Total distance = 5 miles
Day seven - REST


Week eight - Total mileage 15 miles. This week 7 minutes running and 1 minute walking.


Day one - walk quarter mile, stretch, then do 7 minutes easy pace running followed by 1 minute walking. Continue this for 2.5 miles, then cool down walk the last .25 miles. Total distance = 3 miles
Day two - walk quarter mile, stretch, then do 5 minutes easy pace running followed by 1 minutes walking. Continue this for 1.5 miles, then cool down walk the last .25 miles. Total distance = 2 miles
Day three - repeat day one
Day four - Repeat day two
Day five - rest
Day six - LONG day - warm up walk and stretch as you did day one, then for 4.5 miles do 5 minutes running and 1 minutes walking. Cool down walk .25 miles. Total distance = 5 miles
Day seven - REST


Week nine - Total mileage 15 miles. This week 10 minutes running and one minute walking.


Day one - walk quarter mile, stretch, then do 10 minutes easy pace running followed by 1 minute walking. Continue this for 2.5 miles, then cool down walk the last .25 miles. Total distance = 3 miles
Day two - walk quarter mile, stretch, then do 10 minutes easy pace running followed by 1 minutes walking. Continue this for 1.5 miles, then cool down walk the last .25 miles. Total distance = 2 miles
Day three - repeat day one
Day four - Repeat day two
Day five - rest
Day six - LONG day - warm up walk and stretch as you did day one, then for 4.5 miles do 8 minutes running and 1 minutes walking. Cool down walk .25 miles. Total distance = 5 miles
Day seven - REST


Week ten - Total mileage 17 miles. This week you'll walk one minute for every 10-15 minutes of running


Day one - 3.5 miles
Day two - 2 miles
Day three - 3.5 miles
Day four - 2 miles
Day five REST
Day six - 6 miles, walk one minute for every 8-12 minutes running
Day seven - REST


Week eleven - Total mileage 19 miles. This week you'll walk one minute every 15-20


Day one - 4 miles
Day two - 2 miles
Day three - 4 miles
Day four - 2 miles
Day five - REST
Day six - 7 miles (walk one minute for every 12-15 minutes running)
Day seven - REST


Week twelve - Total mileage 20. Walk only as needed


Day one - 4
Day two - 2
Day three - 4
Day four - 2
Day five - REST
Day six - 8 (walk as needed)
Day seven - REST


Most people will hold at this level for several weeks before deciding they're ready to build again. Keep in mind that this transition plan is just that - an outline of a reasonable progression for someone who's never run before. "Your mileage may vary!"

Onward!


To your success! - Coach Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS

COACHES TIPS ARCHIVES

Life stress is total

What's My Pace?

Connecting the Hip to the Knee

Barefoot Running, Is it Right for Me?

Nutrition for Taper

Pace Discipline

Hill Training

Summer Running - Drink it in!

Are we there yet? Overcoming boredom in the basebuilding phase

Returning to running after an injury

Soothe the victim, go after the perpetrator

Stages of grief / denial in an injury

Mental Focus for Optimum Performance

How to establish training paces based on a recent race

How to start a walking program for fitness

Add Text Here...