Learn 2 Run: The Basics

The key to success in this program is getting out and exercising a minimum of 30 minutes, three to four times a week. If you don’t complete these weekly minimum workouts, chances are the workouts will get too tough to do around week 6 and you won’t complete the program as listed.

Also, if you are doing the program on your own, if you have a bad week, get sick, get busy and can’t do all three to four runs or it just feels too hard, repeat the last week.  Just because the schedule says to do something, if you are not ready, don’t push yourself into an injury or not enjoying the run.

Here is the program and the intervals to follow each week.

Learn 2 Run – Weekly Program

The Workout

Each work out should follow a basic format: Warm Up / Run-Walk (repeat) / Cool Down / Stretch.

  • Warm Up: 3-5 minutes of brisk walking.
    • This will warm up the legs, and prepare the body for exercise.
    • Work the arms as well as the legs and maintain an upright body posture.
    • Pick a spot to start and stop. Your warm up distance will also be your cool down distance.
  • Run-Walk: Follow the chart for the week you are on for the duration of each part of the work out.
    • Perform each interval and repeat until you hit your 30-40 minute target.
      • You don’t need to know the distance, just head out and if you are going for 40 minutes, at 20 minutes turn around and head back to where you started.
    • The run portion should be fast enough that you are breathing strongly, but not huffing and puffing. If you can carry on a conversation, you’ve got the effort level about right.
    • The key here is consistency of effort. Pace your effort level so that you can complete the entire 30-40 minutes.
    • The walk portion should be at a brisk pace. Not strolling, not an easy, casual pace. The idea is to reduce your effort that will allow you to recover, but still be working hard. If you have to stop and grab your knees to catch your breath, you are going too hard on the run.
  • Cool Down: 3-5 minutes of brisk walking.
    • This is a recovery so expect you will be walking slower after the run than you will on the warm up.
    • This will give your body a chance to recover from your work out and literally cool down.
  • Stretch: Do the following simple stretches after your cool down is complete.
    • Calf / Hip Flexor stretch
    • Quad stretch
    • IT Band stretch
    • Piraformus stretch

Note: I don’t believe in static stretches prior to work out. Stretching cold muscles causes injuries, not prevent them. If you must stretch before your workout, warm up first.

KISS (Keep It Simple, Silly)

Mark’s First rule of running states: “You don’t have to be smart to be a runner.”

Too many runners, both new and experienced, make things far too complicated. Running is supposed to be simple. Put your shoes on, head out the door and run. Don’t make it more complicated than it has to be. Don’t over think this, we aren’t doing brain surgery, it’s just running.

Distance v.s. Time

I teach new runners not to track the distance covered, but to track time. Too many atheletes new to running worry about distance, and consiquently end up doing either too much or too little to hit some number (i.e. 5 kilometers). If you only track your time, you can set your watch for a 3 minute brisk walk, followed by 15-20 minutes of running in one direction. When you hit that 15-20 minutes, you turn around and head back to the spot you started running, then walk back to where you started walking as your cool down.

The Training Effect

It takes the body about three weeks to totally integrate the workout you do today. That’s why the increase in run / walk times are not a straight line. The uptake in fitness is actually a curve that begins fairly flat and starts to increase dramatically about week 6 of the program. Don’t get frustrated by your lack of progress in the first 6 weeks. That is normal.

Effort Level

The program is also designed to increase effort levels at about the same rate as the body improves it’s aerobic and caridovascular capabilities. Half way through the program you may feel that the workouts aren’t getting easier. They aren’t. However, you should be experiencing about the same level of effort through out the 10 weeks as we ramp up the time spent running and reduce the time spent walking.

The Week 10 Question

I know you are looking at the chart and saying to yourself, “How the heck am I going to go from 3:00 minutes running to doing the full 5 kilometres?” Well, simply put, if you have been following the program, putting in your 30-40 minutes, three to four times a week, then you will be ready. The prior nine weeks will have prepared you both physically and mentally to make the jump. In fact the body is usually ready long before the mind is. I’ve been coaching this program for a long time and you’ll just have to trust me on this one. The reason I keep coaching these clinics is that moment at 10 weeks when the runner goes from “I can’t do this” to “I CAN!”

Learn 2 Run: Basics
Learn 2 Run: Week 1
Learn 2 Run: Week 2
Learn 2 Run: Week 3
Learn 2 Run: Week 4
Learn 2 Run: Week 5
Learn 2 Run: Week 6
Learn 2 Run: Week 7
Learn 2 Run: Week 8
Learn 2 Run: Week 9
Learn 2 Run: Week 10