In order to learn to run, most people have to first do running and walking intervals. But once you have been doing it for awhile, how do you make the transition from running and walking to just running?
I have two techniques that you could try. One is ideal for street running and one is ideal for treadmill running. I am not a running coach or personal trainer. I am sharing the things that personally have worked for me to transition from run/walk intervals to just running. Please try any new exercises at your own risk (i.e. don't sue me if you die).
The fastest way I know to transition from run/walk intervals on the streets to an all-running plan is to follow these instructions as closely as possible.
1. Walk for a few minutes to warm up. Try some dynamic stretching before you get started.
2. Start running at a slow pace. Don't start off too fast or you'll just wear yourself out.
3. When you feel like you just can't run for one more second, try to take 50 more steps, then slow to a fast walk. It is important to be sure that you are listening to your body and not your mind. Is your mind telling you can't go on? Or is it your body or lungs? Sometimes your mind will tell you to stop, but think about it first. Can I breathe? Are my legs OK? How do I feel physically? If it is just your mind, keep going. Your thoughts lie.
4. If you need to slow to a walk, it's OK. Only walk as long as you need to in order to recover. It is really important to be honest with yourself and start running again as soon as you are able. Don't walk for one second longer than necessary.
5. Repeat the running cycle. Run as long as you can. When you think you need to stop, try to count out 50 more steps. As long as you aren't feeling any physical pain, push yourself to keep running for just a little bit longer. When you are sure it is your body and not your mind, it is OK to walk again to recover.
6. Start the run cycle again.
7. The idea is that you run for as long as you physically can, then walk only as much as necessary. If you continue this cycle, while being completely honest with yourself, over time, your run intervals will become longer and your walk intervals will become shorter, until there are no walk intervals at all.
I can clearly remember the great feeling the first time I realized that I didn't need to stop for a walk interval, that I could keep running. Don't listen to your mind, listen to your body.
This same technique can be used to improve your pace. Just replace the walk intervals with slower run internals. Run fast, then run slower to recover until you don't have to run slower anymore.
You could easily do the same routine above on the treadmill, but I recommend a treadmill routine that really boosts running confidence and allows running at different paces instead of taking walk breaks.
1. Walk for a few minutes on the treadmill to warm up.
2. Increase your pace to a slow running pace that feels easy and comfortable to you for one minute.
3. Every minute increase the MPH by .5 on the treadmill until you reach your max running pace.
4. Run for one minute at each .5 increment until you reach your max. You'll know your max when you get there, if you can't keep it up for a minute (or if your breathing is really labored), you went too far.
5 Once you reach your max, start moving back down at .5 MPH increment at a time, for one minute, until you reach your slowest running pace again.
6. Repeat three times.
I love this because you gradually build your speed. You only run at each speed for one minute and as soon as you reach your peak speed, you get to start gradually slowing down. It allows you to run faster but grants you the recovery time in the slower intervals without actually walking.
The great thing about this workout is that you can adjust it as your get stronger, so that you are always pushing yourself. Adjust your slowest and fastest time to your current fitness level. If this is too slow for you, start at a faster pace and peak at a faster pace. The magic of pyramids is that you can always adjust to your current fitness level. Here is a beginner's workout example. If it is too easy or too hard, adjust accordingly.
If you want more tips on how to get start running I have a giveaway for a copy of the Runner's World Big Book of Running for Beginners. Enter to win until 5/5.
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