Fitness Articles

How to Turn Your Walk into a Run

A Walker's Guide to Running

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

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  • Great article. I've been running for about 39 years and I just love it. The article was so spot-on in its advice on getting the proper shoes. The correct shoe and the correct shoe fit are absolutely crucial. One thing I would add is that people buy their shoes at specialized running stores. Those stores have the qualified and trained staff who will help you get the right shoe. Yes, you may pay more but it is worth it.

    The only other thing I would strongly suggest is that you NOT WEAR AN IPOD/listen to music if you are running on the streets! While it might be nice to listen to music, it is much more important to be completely and fully aware of your surroundings. Besides, you will not believe how incredibly wonderful it is to listen to your surroundings.

    Great, great article! Thanks Coach Jen. - 10/8/2015 1:25:27 PM
  • Never to late to start running. I started last May at the age of 49. I run 13 minute miles not that fast but I am lapping everyone else sitting on the couch - 4/4/2015 11:19:13 PM
  • For a period of 6 months I did a bit of steps to start running but not realy serious you know. But when I saw that next week we have the marathon here in our city (there is also a small one for beginners), the thought crossed my mind to enroll for next week.!! But I realize I am too enthousiastic. So I think next year will be better, then I'll train myself having one whole year. Also I will have a better weight, my ideal weight hopefully. So I do it step by step, Walking is more my Thing, I love it. Walking makes me feel good, healthy, I am 47 so I got to think reasonable with myself. Thanks anyway for the beautiful article!!! It gives us the hope we will get there, someday. - 4/4/2015 7:03:23 AM
  • You make it sound fun! Except for the part about concrete being so damaging to the joints. It was sort of incomplete there, because you didn't mention that sidewalks are make of concretes. Instead, you went on to say that asphalt is better, but didn't say where that can be found. Okay, I know, it's what the streets are made of, but most people don't want to be in the street because that makes them vulnerable to being hit by a moving vehicle.

    THERESA63D, if you are having serious knee pain when running, you might want to try water aerobics, because being in the water cuts down on the gravity that your body has to bear. It will be better for you! If cost is an issue, a lot of places offer scholarships or grants to low-income people and it may even be possible to have a doctor's prescription to join a gym and then your insurance would pay. Also, walking is gentler, of course, than running. - 4/4/2015 3:20:05 AM
  • Hated having to run. In high school I was the fastest ever but had to run a mile to stay on the team. then a few years ago I dieted and did the c25k program and enjoyed running for the first time. Got sick and lazy, gained weight and now I miss the running. Have to get back there. - 3/4/2015 8:06:03 AM
  • I never realized the thing about the knees wasn't true. I was curious why (although I've barely started running) that the workouts I had been doing seemed to lead to less knee pain than I've ever least since I was twelve. I've gotten down to NONE. I'm not quite as fit as I was at twenty but I'm more so than I was at twenty five. - 8/22/2014 1:30:41 PM
    Great comments and suggestions. Thanks - 8/6/2014 9:26:49 PM
    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
  • 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

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