For me, the new year happens to coincide with the start of my run and triathlon training. Running and triathlon season starts in the spring and goes into the summer/early fall. That gives me three to four months to get ready provided I start training in January or February. (I only do 10km runs or sprint triathlons so haven’t found the need to train year round just yet.)
December tends to be a write-off with all the holiday dinners, parties and social events and my exercise routine usually takes a back seat that entire month. So when January hits, I usually have some very good reasons to start running again. I need to shed the extra weight I put on during the holiday season and I need to get ready for running and triathlon season.
Running has always been my go-to sport. It doesn’t require tons of gear and I can do it pretty much anywhere. But most importantly, I enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong – it’s still work but I always feel great afterwards. Plus I have been running for years so it’s something that my body is used to.
It wasn’t always that way though. Like everyone else, I had to start somewhere. Lucky for me, I first learned to run 10km by joining a run club in Vancouver called the Sun Run InTraining program.
Sun Run InTraining program
It has a Learn to Run 10km level which is a 13-week training program that consists of run/walk intervals. It starts with a 5 minute warm-up followed by 1 minute run intervals/2 minute walk intervals repeated 8 times and followed by a 5 minute cool down. As the weeks progress the run intervals increase and the walk intervals decrease until you are able to run 50 to 60 minutes non-stop.
It takes time to get there (13 weeks) but this is definitely one of the more enjoyable and less injury prone ways to learn how to run distances. And because it’s so gradual, it’s relatively painless.
I still use this program when I’ve taken a break from running and need to “Learn to run 10 km” again. It never fails to work for me. If you are in Vancouver* and are interested in participating in the Sun Run, I highly recommend this program.
*Clinics are available throughout Greater Vancouver, as well as Bowen Island, Gibsons and Squamish. Some clinics are also available in Penticton, Kelowna, Kamloops and Salmon Arm.
If you don’t live in Vancouver, you can also print off this workout schedule and follow it on your own.
Podrunner workout music
A good friend of mine introduced me to these upbeat music podcasts that are great to run to (and free). Podrunner is a collection of house music tracks with chimes that sound to indicate when it’s time to start running and when it’s time to start walking.
This is great for people who want the music to let them know when it’s time to start walking or running instead of always having to glance at a stopwatch.
The podrunner workouts are built on the same principles as the Learn to Run 10km program with the run/walk intervals gradually increasing and decreasing each week. However, the duration and number of run/walk intervals differ slightly.
Here are the various podrunner workout tracks that are available:
- First Day to 5K – run/walk intervals to prepare you for running 5km
- Gateway to 8K – run/walk intervals to prepare you for running 8km
- Freeway to 10K – run/walk intervals to prepare you for running 10km
- Tempo (steady pace) workouts
Couch to 5km
This is a smartphone app that you can download on to your phone. It’s similar to the Podrunner podcast with an indicator (usually a person’s voice) that tells you when to start running or walking. The great thing is that it uses the music you have on your phone so if there is a certain type of music you like to listen to while running, this is a good option.
Not all Couch to 5km apps are free. Most of them give you free access to the first couple of workouts but require you to purchase the app in order to access the remaining workouts. Some people find it well worth the convenience of having a run program on their phone that allows them to choose the music they run to. I like the fact that it gives people the opportunity to “try it before you buy it” because often the hardest thing about any exercise program is just getting started.
So there are several options for you if you are thinking about taking up running this year. Ranging from low tech (just requiring a stopwatch) to high tech (using a smart phone).
Are there any programs you use to learn how to run? Let us know about them in the comments below.