Olympian and run/walk coach Jeff Galloway has trained thousands of beginning runners to finish a 5K (3.1 miles) race feeling great. Put your best foot forward this year with his 12-week program to get you in shape the right way — gradually.
This three-day-a-week program builds up your running endurance with very short running intervals (starting with 5-10 seconds) mixed with walking breaks. (You'll need a watch to help you time your intervals.) Over the 12-week period, you'll increase the amount of time you spend running until you are able to run continuously for 3-plus miles. If you feel any aches or pains, or are struggling in any way, drop back to more walking.
Use a short stride: Whether you're walking or running, keep your stride relaxed and within your natural range of motion.
Be flexible: During-the-week workouts can be on any day, as long as you rest one day in between. Do weekend workouts on Saturday or Sunday. The pace for any of the runs is as fast or slow as you want to go.
Cool down: Walk or jog slowly for 10-15 minutes after your workout to gradually cool down your muscles and lower your heart rate.
Rules for rest days: Take a day completely off from exercise before and after a long run. On the other non-running days, you can swim, bike, or use the elliptical or rowing machine, but stay away from strength training with your legs, stair-step machines and step aerobics which can fatigue your legs and affect your next walk/run.