This is a topic near and dear to my heart. I ran my first 5K last year (after walking several) using the Jeff Galloway program. Someone else recommended searching out his run/walk method and I give it a hearty second.
I also second the recommend getting properly fitting running shoes. A local running store will give you one-on-one attention and be able to find you a comfy shoe. Mine allows a 30 day return no questions asked so you can buy with confidence.
As a woman, I also recommend a good, supportive!! sports bra. If you've working out on the elliptical, you probably already have one. If not, it's the best piece of running equipment you can buy.
I also recommend that you look at doing some strength training that builds up strength and stability in your core muscles and also in your legs. This will help reduce your risk of injury when you do start running. I have some exercises like this listed in a blog from about a month ago, if you're interested. You can also look at options like Pilates classes (really great for building core strength). I would recommend that you stay away from using the weight machines to build leg strength if you've had knee trouble in the past.
I also agree with others who suggested that you work up to being able to walk consistently at a brisk pace for 30 minutes before starting a C25K-type program. And when you do start that program, don't feel like you MUST progress at the rate stated in the program. It's more of a ceiling (the maximum you should do per week, and the maximum progression from week to week), rather than a minimum. It's better to build up slowly, and to let your body adjust over the course of a couple of weeks to an increase in mileage, time or running duration. This reduces the risk of injury and is likely to increase the likelihood that you'll enjoy it over the long term.
Even just adding a short running interval to a walking workout can make a significant improvement in your endurance, fitness and calorie-burning. Don't feel like you have to progress to running for 30 minutes straight in order to be a "runner". (I've done 11 races this year and am about to do my 2nd half marathon, and I almost never run for more than 4 minutes at a time.) I did my first HM with a run/walk interval of 1 minutes / 2 minutes (i.e., walked for twice as long as I ran) and it felt great.
Finally, before you start a walk or walk-run program, make sure you get fitted for a good pair of running shoes, and get them at a running store (not just a big chain sports store) where they will watch you run or walk and analyze your gait before suggesting a shoe.
I started 'running,' & I mean a S-L-O-W run, when I weighed 200#. I downloaded Robert Ullrey's Couch to 5K podcasts www.c25k.com/podcasts.htm & that's how I trained to do several 5K's over the past few years. Starts you with brisk 5 min walk, then run 30 or 60 seconds or so, then walk.....it's because it's such a gradual increase in running, which is what I needed. Also, because I never ran a 10 min mile, I kept running, rewinding instructions until I'd run 45 minutes.
Sue Crystal Lake, IL CST
10/7/12 5:48 P
I second the walking until that feels comfortable and then progressing to C25K. Also check out Jeff Galloway web site. His program advocates walk/run intervals. Very helpful. Go to the library and check out one of his books. He has written several
10/5/12 1:38 P
Eric has given you some great advice. I agree that it's best to establish a good walking base first, and then when you feel comfortable with that you can move on to running. Perhaps a good start would be one of SparkPeople's 5k walking plans, and then you could progress to the 5k run/walk or 5k run plan?
"You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call "failure" is not the falling down but the staying down." Mary Pickford
"No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch."
"But I want to run. My coworker went from a hefty girl like me last year, only able to run for 30 minutes at a time, to sleek and skinny now, able to run 10 miles every morning. I want to do that!"
First off, what is your real goal? Is it to be sleek and skinny like your friend, or to be able to run 10 miles a day like your friend?
I ask because, there are more efficient ways to lose weight and get sleek and skinny, than to run. But, if your goal is just to be able to run long distance the training would be different.
Fitness Minutes: (22,220)
1,537 10/5/12 10:15 A
If you haven't run before, you should really build up to the point where you can comfortably walk at a decent pace for at least 30 stratight minutes.
Then, the C25K or SP's walk-run 5k plans make sense.
Before that, I think you risk injury, and that doesn't help you at all. If you haven't exercised much yet, you'll gain a major fitness boost from the walking.
PS- edited to add: I did see the elliptical reference. If you feel that your eliptical training is sufficient for your base, then maybe you can take on a beginner 5k plan, as long as you are prepared to repeat some weeks if you need to do that. Nobody ever said you needed to finish 1 of those plans on time!
Edited by: ERICWS at: 10/5/2012 (10:17)
Fitness Minutes: (302)
75 10/5/12 10:08 A
Couch to 5k might be helpful for you. I weigh just as much as you do and am likely in MUCH worse shape, with minor knee problems as well, but I could manage the first week alright. (I gave up because I couldn't do it without having to stop and catch my breath and now I'm focusing on getting in better shape overall first.) If you rock at cardio it shouldn't be too much of a struggle.
I reccommend good shoes, or at least some arch supports, if you don't have that already. That greatly helped my knees and they didn't bother me at all when I tried it. Your results may vary though.
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Check out SP's C25K program - Couch to 5k. SP has a lot of programs to help people run, no matter what shape you are in. From couch potato to jogger, and anywhere in between. Good luck! :)
Fitness Minutes: (22,220)
1,537 10/5/12 9:48 A
You're in the right place. The reason why I came here in the first place was because of the info on "learn to run" programs. There's so much info on here to answer your question - do a search and you'll find article after article.
Start walking first. Get some "base" firtness so that your body can handle the extra burden of running. It takes a while- 6 months, maybe longer. Then do a SP 5k program- and go from there.
I walked for a good 15 months before I started running. I've been running for 18 months now. It is a learning process. I am still learning. But I am glad that i did not try to do too much too quickly.
Fitness Minutes: (4,697)
10/5/12 9:30 A
I can do cardio. Forty-five minutes on an elliptical at level 6 is nothing. But I want to run. My coworker went from a hefty girl like me last year, only able to run for 30 minutes at a time, to sleek and skinny now, able to run 10 miles every morning. I want to do that! But I'm not sure how. Is it best that I get in a little better shape first, or can I just jump off the couch and go run? I have old knee injuries that sometimes bother me, and I'm tipping the scale at 240. I worry for my joints, but I don't know if there's any exercise to properly prepare me for running *except* running. Any thoughts?
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