How to stop walking and start running

In a previous post, we discussed the benefits of walking as part of your training program. Walking is a good step toward training your body to be able to run for extended periods of time. Walking is a means to the end. The end being continuous non-stop running. If you’ve been following a walk/run program for at least 6 weeks, you’re probably ready to run nonstop without taking any walk breaks. The goal is to start small, aim for 30 minutes to start. It’s time to stop walking and start running. Then we’ll build on your successes and increase your time and/or mileage

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you prepare to run for 30 minutes:

Stop walking slowly

When you first start out, you’ll have to find a happy medium between being consistent so that you’re building up your endurance, at the same time, slow enough that you don’t hurt yourself. To do that, you’ll need to train at an easy pace. Find a cadence that feels very doable. It should feel easy, but comfortable and conversational. Many runners try to do too much too fast. Don’t fall into that trap. You do you. Start slow and pace yourself to develop endurance first before you start running. Your speed will come with time. So stop walking and get ready to start running.

Relax and stop walking

When moving from a walking program to start running it is common to tense up in your arms, neck, and chest. This tension draws the strength away from where it’s needed, your legs and lungs. Take some advice from Frankie Goes to Hollywood, “Relax.” One of the best ways to run relaxed is to do some meditation beforehand. This will help loosen everything up, from your furrowed brow to your individual toes. While running, avoid clenching your fists. My wife’s high school track coach uses to say, “Imagine that you’re holding a butterfly’s wings between each thumb and middle finger.”

Try not to think about running

Distracting yourself from heavy breathing can help you stay committed to running. I used to run with my sister while training for races. We’d chat about whatever and before we knew it we had run 8 miles. Find a friend to jog with you, or watch your favorite sitcom while on the treadmill; put together a workout mix with tunes that evoke happy memories. Any way that you can focus your attention on something else it’s easier to stop walking and start running.

The right gear to stop walking

Make sure that you have the right clothes and shoes for running. This is an area where you should splurge not look for deals. When I first started running I just ran in the shoes that I had. I soon realized that was a bad idea. Running in worn-out shoes is one of the leading causes of injury. Ideally, you should get a new pair every 300 to 500 miles. For your first pair of running shoes, go to a running store where you can get fitted properly with the support that your feet need. Also, invest in moisture-wicking shirts, shorts, pants, and jackets made of technical fabrics. You may need to shell out some cash initially, but it will keep you comfortable and injury-free for many many miles.

>>>Read the post on Finding the Right Shoes

Feed the machine

Think of your body as a machine. Machines need fuel. Your fuel is your fat stores and what you put in the tank. You’ll probably be okay running on an empty stomach but if you feed the machine, you’ll have more energy to sustain you throughout your run. Drink 8 to 16 ounces of water before you start. Eat 200 calories, something like a protein bar or some wheat toast with peanut butter, at least 30 minutes before your run. Everyone is unique in terms of digestion time, so you may need to eat closer to your workout or a few hours earlier than what’s prescribed here. You know your body, do what feels best for you.

Bottom line on stop walking and start running

Going from a walking program to start running can be a difficult stretch goal for many. It’s not easy to make the transition, but following the tips listed above, combined with a little mental toughness, you’ll get there in no time.