From a Walk to a Run: Preparing for a Virtual Run

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Many people think that they are not runners. But once they get started, they really enjoy the endorphin rush and how healthy they feel after a good run (even if it is a jog). If you have started out walking and are ready for a little more of a challenge, it may be time to move from walking to running. Remember that your health journey is all about your own comfort level and how you feel. Listen to your body.

Move to a Speed Walk – Technique

If you have already been walking at a moderate pace, you can increase your speed a little bit at a time.  

The technique is essential to reap all the benefits of walking. A regular walk turns into a fitness stride by paying attention to your posture and ensuring that your movements are purposeful. 

  • Keep your head up to look straight ahead (not at the ground).
  • Relax your neck, shoulders, and back. It would be best if you were not stiff and completely upright.
  • Allow your arms to fall freely. There should be a slight bend in your elbows.  
  • With a straight back, keep your stomach muscles tightened while walking.
  • Keep your stride smooth by rolling your foot from heel to toe.

Once you have been walking at a brisk pace or speed walking for a while, it is time to start running.

Preparing for a 5K Run

When you are at the point where you can comfortably complete a 30-minute brisk walk, you can start to move up to running.

When you start a training schedule, you will be running, walking, and resting throughout one-week intervals. This will allow your body to build endurance and get used to a new pace.

Most schedules are set to run for a short time, and then you walk. Gradually, the amount of time spent running versus walking will increase. Schedules should also include a day of rest so that your muscles can recuperate from the activity. Many schedules are five days of training, and you can either rest for two days or take one day for a leisure walk instead of training.

Training Plan

Week One

For the first week, you should run for 15 seconds and walk for 45 for a total time of 30 minutes. 

Do this Monday – Thursday and then rest on Friday. On Saturday, carry out your intervals of running and walking until you have covered 4.8 km. On Sunday, rest again or go for a leisure walk.

Week Two

You will also run for 15 seconds during the second week and walk for 45 seconds for 30 minutes each day Monday through Thursday. On Saturday, repeat the process, increasing the distance to 5.6 km. On Friday and Sunday, rest.

Week Three

In week three, you will increase your running and decrease your walking. Monday through Thursday, you will do 30 minutes of running for 20-second intervals and walking for 40 seconds. Friday is still your rest day. On Saturday, cover a distance of 3.2 km.

You will want to start finding a comfortable pace for yourself during this time. On Saturday, start by running and walking for 1.6 km and try to go a little faster than you had the previous two weeks. Time yourself, so you know how long it took to do the 1.6 km. When you reach 1.6 km (half of what you are to do for the day), run or walk the last half as is comfortable. In week five, you will be trying to beat your time.

Week Four

This week, continue with running for 20 seconds and walking for 40 seconds. On Saturday, you will want to increase your distance to 6.4 km.

Week Five

This week, you will increase your running time and decrease your walking time again. Run for 25 seconds and walk for 35 seconds.

On Saturday, do the distance of 3.2 km as you did in week three and time the first 1.6 km. Try to beat your time from week three.  

Week Six

For week six, stay with 25 seconds of running and 35 seconds of walking.  

On Saturday, cover a distance of 7.2 km.  

Week Seven

In week seven, you are ready for your 5K race! Spend Monday to Thursday training for 30 minutes a day as usual!  

On Saturday, lace up and see how long it takes you to do your first 5K run!

Things to Remember:

Running is healthy and fun. 

If you feel that you are not comfortable, reduce your pace and continue working up to a longer distance and faster pace. You are not in competition with anyone but yourself. When you join 5K races, either in real life or for a virtual run, of course, there are other competitors. However, you want to beat your best time, not somebody else’s.  

Listen to your body and push your own limits only as far as you are comfortable.  

Another idea to help increase your fitness is to do your walking and running on different terrain. 

Some races may include hills, or they may be on trails. If you run down the sidewalk every day, you may not be prepared for other possible obstacles.

Getting fit takes time, and it may be hard to notice an improvement in the first few weeks. One way to track your health throughout your journey is to take your resting heart rate at the start of your training. As you get fitter, your resting heart rate will drop. So, as you monitor your heart rate over the training weeks, you will notice it going down. 

That is a good sign that you are healthy and that your body is adapting to the exercise regimen.

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