Starting a Running Program
When starting a running program, combine walking and jogging. Gradually increase the time spent jogging and decrease the time spent walking. Remember that your exercise intensity should be between 60%-75% of your max HR, so adjust your pace accordingly. Table 6-2 outlines a beginning jogging program to help make your transition easier. Advance to the next phase once you can consistently perform the walk-jog cycles outlined within your target heart rate zone. If you are interested in running for fitness, a good goal is 6 to 8 miles per week, spread over 3 running days of 2 to 3 miles each. Start a running log to track your workouts (Worksheet B1), noting mileage, time, heart rate, and perceived exertion.
Increasing Your Running Workout
Once you can comfortably run 6-8 miles per week and you desire to progress further in a running program, start by increasing either your mileage or pace. Increasing either your distance or pace too quickly can cause training injuries, so gradually increase one at a time by no more than 10% per week. (eg if you can run five miles, increase your distance by a half mile and keep your pace constant) Maintain this new distance for at least one week, or until it is consistently easy for you. Consistency is more important than speed. When running for exercise and not competition, your pace should be even (60-75% max HR) and allow you to talk comfortably Increase your mileage or pace by only 10% per week.
Do not increase your mileage and pace simultaneously. Twenty to 30 miles per week is a good training distance for an intermediate runner (Table 6-3). As a rule, your risk of injury sharply increases as your running mileage increases. So, if running for fitness rather than competition, keep your weekly mileage below 30 miles. Beyond this, your injury risks far outweigh any additional fitness benefits. Cross-train to work on aerobic fitness without running more than 30 miles.