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Training

Ask the Penguin: How to Get Started

Dear Penguin

I am a 42 year old female who hasn’t exercised in YEARS but now for some unknown reason I feel the need to be a runner. I am 70 lbs over weight. I want to run, I need to run, however I cannot run for even 5 minutes straight.

I was trying to run for 30 minutes every day. I do a walk/run for that amount of time. Should I run everyday? How long should it take me to get to where I can run for 30 minutes a day?

First off, congratulations on taking control of your life. Start slowly, be patient, and be gentle with yourself. You didn’t get to where you are in a day. It will take time to get to where you want to be. But, it’s worth it.

I always use some kind of run/walk interval. Most days that’s run 4 minutes and walk 2. But, some days I reverse that. Or, I’ll make up some other interval. But, I NEVER run for more than 5 minutes without walking for one.

Most of us do best on 4 days of running/walking per week. After age 40 [and I’m 61 now] it takes about 48 hours to recover from a workout. And keep in mind that the “training effect” happens while you’re resting, not when you’re training!

You should take AT LEAST one day per week completely off. If there are other things that you like to do, like cycling or swimming for example, you can do them.

What would be best would be to strength train and work on flexibility two days per week.

The secret is to take your time.

Waddle on,
John

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John “the Penguin” Bingham, Competitor Magazine columnist
Author, The Courage to Start, No Need for Speed, Marathoning for Mortals and Running for Mortals.

Have a question for John? E-mail it to thepenguin@johnbingham.com.