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Fitness Articles  ›  Focused Fitness

How to Turn Your Walk into a Run

A Walker's Guide to Running

-- By Nancy Howard, Certified Running Coach
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You have been walking faithfully four to five days a week, gradually increasing your time to 30 minutes or longer. Congratulations! But after following this routine for several weeks, you may no longer feel the challenge you once did. You feel it’s time to kick it up a notch and see where these legs can take you! The next step for many walkers in your situation is running.

Running is a great sport in which almost all individuals can participate. Despite the fact that many people believe running can lead to arthritis of the knees and hips, studies conducted by Stanford University and the Cooper Institute have actually shown that running can improve bone and joint function for those not already suffering from arthritis.

Running has been also shown to:
  • Decrease blood pressure
  • Increase cardiovascular functioning
  • Increase HDL (the good cholesterol)
  • Improve aerobic endurance
  • Increase muscle strength, especially in the lower body and core
  • Promote better sleep
  • And perhaps most importantly, promote a sense of self-confidence and well-being
Now that you know the benefits, before embarking on any running program it is always best to get clearance from your health care provider, especially if you are older than 40 or have a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or osteoarthritis.

While becoming a runner can be a tad overwhelming in the beginning, getting the right shoes, developing a good plan, and allowing time for your body to adapt to the rigors of the sport should get you well on your way. Many new runners find that setting a goal to run a race, such as a 5K, keeps them on target to finish their training program.
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About The Author

Nancy Howard Nancy Howard
Nancy is an avid runner and health enthusiast. A retired pediatric nurse, she received her bachelor's degree in nursing from Texas Woman's University and is also a certified running coach and ACE-certified personal trainer.

Member Comments

    I would love to run but my knees get to hurting me..anyone got any ideas on doing something different. ? Thx - 1/24/2014 3:07:12 PM
    I recommend downloading Podrunner to help you reach your 5K goals. It is interval training that involves music with sound cues that tell you when to slow down, speed up, and stop. Soooo exciting. - 1/10/2014 7:56:21 PM
  • I just started to run/jog/fast walk and at first I found it very difficult. I stuck with it about every other day and now I am getting better at it and actually enjoying it. I am getting faster too!!!!! - 12/11/2013 2:06:33 PM
  • 1958TMC
    I would love to be able to do some running, but I can barely walk very far without being winded. - 9/25/2013 3:58:13 PM
  • Great article. - 8/29/2013 2:38:51 PM
  • CLIFF57
    In Canada you can call on The Running Factory. They offer clinics that run 8 weeks at a time. Very supportive, move up at your pace. They also have guest speakers in to cover, stretching, diet, etc. - 8/22/2013 10:21:03 PM
  • Great article!!! - 8/21/2013 9:54:13 PM
  • I found in the beginning of my run if I walked the first 5 minutes and then took off my legs felt stronger and could run longer each time I went out.
    Also very important,! When running remember deep breaths and long exhales to expel all the coabon monoxide.
    Use your diaphragm!!! - 8/21/2013 9:53:38 PM
  • I love running. Ok so it's more of a slow jog for me, but I still enjoy it!! I started w walking and as the article suggests added jogging Intervals as my fitness progressed. I run through my neighborhood, concrete,asphalt and hills usually about a three mile loop and have never had an injury. My breathing still isn't quit right, but that just gives me something to improve on. I don't think I'll ever be super fast or even a great long distance runner , but I enjoy the time alone to breath in the air and clear my head and feel the strength in my body as it moves. - 8/21/2013 11:39:03 AM
  • LAKW514
    I've hated running all my life, but I finally decided to train for an event and become a runner. I haven't had any problems, and I found a great pair of shoes at a good price. I could have made the excuses like a lot of people made on here, but I didn't. Now, I'm extremely proud of myself for my accomplishments in running. If I had read some people's comments before starting, I would have been discouraged, so if anyone hasn't started running, ignore their excuses because it is possible to do without all they complained about. - 8/21/2013 9:12:07 AM
  • The best workout/running/j
    ogging bra is the Enell Bra. They're a tad expensive ($62), but WORTH EVERY PENNY! I own 2 of them. - 4/11/2013 10:49:30 PM
  • I've already progressed from an inveterate walker into a runner, but this article was a great reinforcement. Thank you! - 11/16/2012 8:03:53 AM
  • I was a runner. But the damage my knees endured I payed for later. Now after two complex knee replacements. running is out, fast walks, with some jogging is all I can do. But that's OK, I can do so much more, ski and hike . I am taking up Nordic walking.
    I really don't believe we were meant to run as much as we have tried to do in our lives.
    As long as I exercise , raises my heart rate., and strength train, I will leave running to those who feel they are physical able too. - 11/15/2012 8:23:34 PM
  • I tried running back in the '70s when I was a lot younger. Couldn't get the right stride no matter how hard I tried. And after seeing both my sister and niece suffering with knee and back problems from running, I won't even attempt it. So "I don't jog, and I don't do windows". - 11/15/2012 1:52:43 PM
  • I have tried again and again over the course of this past year with all the appropriate precautions. I added running/jogging slowly and my good knee just cannot take it neither can the hip on that same side. I will continue to speed walk/ jog and strength train and yoga but this is just out of the question for me and it saddens me so because I loved running before my back injury. I think I will focus on what I CAN do.
    - 11/15/2012 12:01:01 PM
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