Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Nike: Starting a Running Regimen

originally posted September 04, 2009 by Coach Jay

Coach Jay, I have a question about starting a running regimen. I've never been in very good aerobic shape, but due to my line of work, I have a fairly high level of general strength. A lot of the programs I've seen aimed at starting people on the road to running regularly begin with walking half of the days for several weeks. I understand that several people don't get out on their feet for very long each day, but when I am working I am on my feet for 8 hours, constantly moving. My situation makes the 15 min. walks seem like a waste of time since I am doing monumentally more any time I work. I know you say that structural changes take time, but I feel like my structure is set to start further along than these programs expect. Is there an "accelerated" workout plan you can recommend? Also, regarding your GS videos, would it be ideal to do every exercise you list in all the routines every day? And should I be doing any sort of warm-up before I head out each day?

Thanks, Dan. Dan, Wow, you've definitely read these Q&As for a while to ask such a specific question. I love it and I hope my answer is at the same level as your question.

My first thought is this: walking and working on your feet have no doubt given you a base of structural preparation a person working at a desk is lacking. That said, the first thing you need to be mindful of regarding the walk-run method (and why it's successful) is the simple difference in physics between the two activities. Humans must put more force in the ground to propel themselves when running vs. walking; walking is an inherently safer activity for the human foot and lower leg because the magnitude of the forces involved is less. What is my point? The bigger the human the greater the chance of foot and lower leg injuries in running IF they are structurally unprepared for the stresses associated with running. If you're 5'11 and 150 lbs then you probably can run 5 days this week; if you're 6'2" and 200+ lbs then you might need to walk/run for a few weeks to ensure that the small bones of the foot, as well as the small muscles of the lower leg, are ready for running.

But please know that I agree with you; you're one of the few people reading this blog that can likely handle more running in your first year due to the physicality of your work day and the basic structural training stimulus that has given you.

In regards to the GS videos, you should start with just 1 or 2 following your easy days; you can do 2-3 of them following your hard days. Myrtl is a great cool down, but can also be used as a warm-up routine (I assign it at least two or three sessions a week with the athletes I work with). However, the lunge warm-up is the key warm-up routine and can be done before every run.

I wish you the best and I appreciate your question.

Coach Jay coaches athletes at RunnersCoach.com and blogs at CoachJayJohnson.com. And don't forget, if you have training question for Coach Jay, email him here: coachjay@nike.com.

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