Running is a great way to get a quick and efficient workout. It can be a great adjunct to any fitness program. As someone who has been running casually for many decades now, I have been through the cycle of getting into running shape countless times. For me it was after “retiring” from a college sport and finding a new relationship to exercise, then running for health and stress relief in medical school and residency, then resuming after the “breaks” of moving and starting a new job, childbirth, and most recently the intense schedule of starting a new business while raising 3 kids. So while I am no expert at elite running, I am pretty good about navigating how to get started on a running program.

Start slow: We may feel great and motivated to run fast and far on day one, but we need to give our bodies some time to catch up with our minds in that regard. Choose a moderate intensity pace that allows you to hold a conversation. The duration will depend on your age and fitness but aim for about 20 min to start. Consistency is key: Don’t worry about how slow you are going. If you show up consistently, you will improve. In order to build consistency a) schedule your runs on your calendar and b) employ habit loops.

Give yourself time to recover and cross train. Run no more than 3, maybe four, days per week. After a run consider getting some protein in within the first 30 minutes of rest (especially important for older female bodies). For cross training be sure to incorporate stretching of the calves, and strengthening of the hip abductors and extensors. Aim for twice weekly cross training sessions and include the following movements:

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Glute bridges
  • Fire hydrants
  • Donkey kickbacks
  • Lateral band walks (miniband needed)
  • Calf stretches on the stairs or downward dog

Consider using a running program or trainer. Many people have found success with the easy to follow couch to 5k or couch to 10k program.

You could also consider working with a personal trainer. Proformance, 100 year warrior and Pinnacle fitness in Pullman all come to mind (let me know please if you know of running specific coaches in Pullman!)

Set a goal: signing up for a local 5k or other fun run is a great way to motivate yourself to keep up your runs.The Lentil Festival is right around the corner. Need a little more time to prepare? How about a September run in Palouse?

You can also check here for other upcoming runs including the Snake River Half Marathon and connect with a community of runners on the Palouse Road Runners site.

Picture of me in my killer bunch of grape running costume. I knew I held onto those ugly leggings for a reason.