Five Steps to Getting Started
Start by Walking.
Everyone needs to feel comfortable and successful right from the
start. Begin by walking for 30 minutes. Keep doing this until it
When normal walking becomes easy, walk briskly for 30 minutes and
monitor your heart rate every 5-8 minutes. If it seems below the
target zone, pick up the pace. Many people will never want or need
to go beyond a brisk walk, provided they can maintain their target
Insert a Few "Jogs."
When you are comfortable walking briskly and want to step up the
pace, simply insert 3-4 "jogs" of 100 yards or so (about the length
of one football field or a city block) into your 30-minute walk.
Warm up by walking slowly, build into a brisk walk and then do the
short jogs when you feel ready.
Increase the Running as Desired.
Increase the running segments as you feel stronger, always avoiding
discomfort. You may eventually fill in the 30 minutes with slow
running - or you may keep your walking breaks. You're using the
running to push the heart rate above the threshold and the walking
to keep from getting uncomfortable.
Step It Up.
Increase the time to 40 minutes three times a week. Work up to 60
minutes for one of these weekly sessions, which will increase the
cardiovascular as well as mental benefits. Don't underestimate the
effect of rewards. Small regular rewards for specific accomplishments
will often spark interest when motivation is down. Promise yourself
something - a dinner out, a new pair of shoes, a good book - for
finishing each of the five steps above, for when you finally put
in your first hour-long session, etc. If you feel "down," find yourself
a positive experience or see someone who will bring you up. Look
for something good in every run. When you're in shape, you begin
to think differently about yourself and your life. It's always hard
to shake off the sedentary lifestyle, and the adjustment period
- once you do - is difficult. But if you make it through this period,
an addiction often occurs which makes the activity self-sustaining.
So have faith! Better times are coming. Be patient and enjoy yourself.
The Five Stages of a Runner
The Beginner: Stage One: Making the Break
Every beginning is precarious. There you are, perched on the edge
of starting something entirely new, yet there are distractions,
even criticisms, that cause detours and dead ends. You want to be
more healthy and fit, but you may not realize how secure you've
become in an inactive world. Each time you go out for a run you
encounter a new side of yourself - one that must somehow be integrated
into your daily life.
There is usually a struggle within and without. The old lifestyle
is there and offers security. When the energy of "beginning" wears
off, it's harder to motivate yourself to go out for that daily run.
You'll face a lot of obstacles at first. It's all too easy to stop
when the weather turns cold, when it rains or snows, or when you
feel the aches and pains of starting. You haven't had to deal with
these things before and the temptation to quit is strong.
Your running may also be threatening to your less active friends.
Eventually you - the beginner - and your non-running friends work
it out. The transition period, however, can be unstable and uncomfortable
for both. If you falter, the old world - comfortable in many ways
- is waiting for you to slip back in. If you're lucky enough to
make new friends who share similar fitness goals, you'll probably
find refuge in the "fit" world while you gain your "running security."
Social reinforcement makes it easier to establish the fitness habit.
One good approach is to find a group that meets regularly. Or you
can make a pact with a friend who drags you out on bad days and
vice versa. Races and fun runs are great opportunities to meet people.
At times you may not progress as fast as you expected. We Americans
are traditionally hyperactive and impatient. When we plant a seed,
we not only want it to grow, we want it to become a tree by next
week. We want results. When you start, you want to see physical
and psychological benefits. But if you push too hard, you can tire
yourself out and end up quitting in frustration.
The seed of exercise - if you don't crush it - will survive periods
of moisture and drought. Just when it seems to be drying up, it
will spring to life, rejuvenated, and propel you further down the
road. Don't be discouraged, even if you've stopped. Tomorrow's another
day. Many beginners stop and start again 10 or 15 times before they
get the habit established. Beginners who don't put pressure on themselves
seem to have an easier time staying with it. If you simply walk/jog
30-40 minutes every other day, you'll find yourself gently swept
along in a pattern of relaxation and good feeling. Your workout
starts to become a special time for you. As you make progress you
find within yourself the strength and security to keep going. At
first you're "just visiting" that special world when you go out
for a run. But gradually you begin to change. You get used to the
positive relaxed feeling. Your body starts cleaning itself up, establishing
muscle tone, circulating blood and oxygen more vigorously. One day
you find you're addicted, and the beginner becomes a jogger.
The Jogger: Stage Two - Entering the New World
The jogger feels secure with running. It may be hard to start each
day's run but, unlike the beginner, you can identify with those
who are addicted. You may be intimidated by the "high achievers"
- competitors and marathoners - but you have begun to understand
the benefits of fitness and made a significant break with the old,
non-fit world. The jogger's runs are satisfying in themselves. There
is almost always a "glow" at the end of the run, a reward for the
effort. If you miss a run you may feel guilty - a rare experience
for the beginner. Beginners oftencomplain that they're bored while
running, but joggers find this problem decreases and then disappears
as their distances increase.
Rarely does a jogger have a plan or goal. Most run as a healthy
diversion and don't feel the need to get anything more out of it.
They just get out there when they can and do what they can. Those
who do feel they need a plan often think they don't know enough
to prepare one. They may pick up a few tips from a more experienced
running friend or ideas from a running magazine. Unfortunately this
often ends in frustration or injury because such plans are not based
upon the jogger's own individual abilities and goals, but upon someone
At first you probably needed a group or at least another person
for motivation and direction. As a jogger you are a bit more independent.
You'll prefer company to running alone, but you'll pick and choose
your group with care. Most beginners seek anonymity within a group
while joggers often enjoy identification with a group.
As a beginner you may have attended a few fun runs or an occational
race. Joggers, however, mark the local 10ks on their calendars.
These are motivational stepping stones to keep the daily runs on
track. There will often be one major race in the joggers' schedule,
like the Bay to Breakers, Peachtree Road Race or the Corporate Challenge.
Although you're not running competitively or for time improvement,
a sense of competition may begin to develop. By piecing together
a growing series ofsuccessful and non-threatening running experiences,
you begin the transition into a more fit lifestyle.
There are always conditions - injury, a long stretch of bad weather,
a partner dropping out - that may stop your running and force you
to start over again as a beginner. When the year's big race is over,
you may lose the motivation to keep going. A jogger will sometimes
give up running completely, but usually will start again after an
For the next three stages (The Competitor, The Athlete and The
Runner), please see pages 26-31 in Galloway's Book on Running by
Jeff Galloway (Shelter Publications, 1984).
The Top Five Reasons Why
You Need Shoe Advice
1. Even the better running companies are using gimmicks in their
designs: Some of the gimmicks work and some don't.
2. There's always a reason why the catalog offers a dramatic discount
on a given shoe.
3. The same shoe may be made in different factories - making each
significantly different in the way it fits and in the many subtle
ways it works when you run.
4. Only people who are really into running shoes can keep up with
the gossip on running shoes - due to constant feedback they receive
from hundreds of customers each week who really use the shoes for
5. Only experienced running staff people can look at you running
in a shoe and tell whether it really fits - and works with your
foot in the right way.
Reprinted with permission from Return of the Tribes to Peachtree
Street by Jeff Galloway (Phidippides Publication, 1995), p. 14
Fitness Mistakes (for
a new runner) - which cause burnout:
1. tried to run continuously for more than a half mile (should
have run 1-2 minutes and walked 2 minutes 2. Started out each run
too hard - for him/her (should have started by shuffling slowly
- with walks) 3. Told himself before each run that he was going
to feel bad (should have forecast a fun, easy run) 4. Tried to exercise
when blood sugar and motivation was low (should have eaten something
Home | Site
Map | Contact Us
About Jeff | Training
| Resources | Nutrition
| Training Groups |
Retreats | Merchandise
Copyright © 2005, JFG, Inc.
Direct comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org