Saturday, July 2, 2011

Nike: Improving Your Running

originally posted May 15, 2009 by Coach Jay

Hi, I need help or tips on how to improve my running. I'm medically fit yet I can't run for two minutes straight without wanting to stop dead. I don't smoke or do any drugs, but it always feels like I'm moving slower than a snail when I’m running. I used to run track when I was in high school five years ago. I kept up my running even after I injured my knee, but it seems like I just can't do it anymore. Any tips? I have consulted my doctor and a trainer and they both tell me, “it's something you will have to push through by slowly increasing the amount of running you do each week." However, I'm still at the same point I was at 3 months ago, so please HELP! I'll be joining the military in a year and a half and need to lose weight as well as cut down my run time significantly. Any help would be much appreciated! -An out of shape former runner.

Former Runner-
Thanks for the candid question. Getting to the point where you can walk briskly for 40-60 minutes without pain should be your first goal. I'm sure this sounds ridiculously easy for someone who wants to run as badly as you do, however, it's an obvious first step and a step I firmly believe in. This fall I'll be asking the post-collegiate athletes I work with to spend 3-5 hours per week hiking in the Boulder/Denver area as part of their general preparation phase. Why? It's a great way to get the smaller muscles and small tendons ready for ‘real training. ’ It's also a great way for them to enjoy where they live since this time of the year running or hiking on trails are inappropriate training. I digress. The point is that you can likely walk briskly and finish that workout by doing 10-20 minutes of general strength (see my general strength videos on the video wall) for a long workout. Follow it up the next day with a short 30-minute workout by doing 30-60 seconds of easy running followed by 2 min of brisk walking and then ending with 10 minutes of general strength. That way you'll have two solid workout days back to back. You can take day three off or do something in the pool—either lap swimming or aqua jogging.

After 4-6 weeks of this weekly rhythm you can revisit your doctor and get their opinion on the next logical step. That’s a phrase my college coach loved to use to keep us focused, especially when we were getting impatient with our training.

I hope this helps and I wish you the best.

*Coach Jay’s advice is provided as general training information. Use at your own risk. Always consult with your own heath care provider for questions relating to your specific training and nutrition.

Coach Jay coaches athletes at and blogs at And don't forget, if you have training question for Coach Jay, email him here: