When new runners try to bite off more than they can chew, it’s easy to get discouraged. Too many would-be runners set lofty goals for themselves in hopes of taking up running with a bang. What’s more likely, though, is those individuals get overwhelmed and eventually give up before they really settle into a groove. Fortunately, the solution is simple: justÂ make smaller goals that are more easily managed.
These mini-goals can be part of a larger goal that might overwhelm you in other circumstances. But by breaking down these aspirations into bite-sized pieces, you stand a much better chance of sticking with running and eventually reaching your goal.
1. Running one mile
If you’re nervous about runningâ€”and doubting your ability to keep it up for a prolonged periodâ€” give yourself the simple task of running a single mile nonstop. This should be an attainable goal as long as you properly prepare and have the right equipment. Make sure you invest in a pair ofÂ good quality running shoesÂ before you start.
WEEK 1: Start with a one-mile walk and then run or jog at a comfortable pace for half a mile. If you are struggling with this distance, aim to run a quarter-mile. Once you’ve gone that far, walk a quarter- or half-mile. Repeat this two more times so that you’ve run a total of one or two miles and walked another two.
FOLLOWING WEEKS: Try to complete this workout three to four times per week. Gradually increase your running distance from a quarter-mile to a half-mile and beyond. Within a few weeks, you will probablyÂ build up the enduranceÂ enough to complete your goal of running one mile. Your most important goal is simplyÂ covering these distances without walking, no matter what your pace is.
2. Running a 5K
A 5K is one of the most common races and is enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. It’s a good goal for anyone who can successfully run a mile without too much difficulty.
WEEK 1: Start with a basic workout of alternating running and walking. To train for this distance, start by running one mile, walking a half-mile and running another half-mile. Finish by walking a quarter-mile and running three-quarters of a mile to end the workout. Perform this three to four times a week and try to increase your speed with every workout.
FOLLOWING WEEKS: Gradually increase your running distance without increasing your walking distance. Try to build up to running three miles at the start of the workoutâ€” this is nearly the same distance as a 5K. Try to start this regimen four to eight weeks before your race.
3. Running a 10K
Most people who run a 10K can comfortably run two or three miles and may have even completed a 5K in the past. In either case, running a 10K is easily done. The main goal is to build up enough endurance during training to make your goal a reality.
WEEK 1: Go for a long run of one to three miles, depending on your current fitness level. Walk a half-mile and run another half-mile to a mile to further build your endurance.
FOLLOWING WEEKS:Â Increase your primary running distanceÂ gradually, ideally working your way up to six miles or more. After walking half a mile, continue to increase your secondary running distance to a mile or more — the more mileage you’re able to accumulate, the easier your 10K run will be. Try to run three to five times a week to build up endurance. Perform this running schedule starting at least six to ten weeks prior to your run.
When it comes to race day, there’s always an increased emphasis placed on running the distance as quickly as possible. While competition may get the best of you, try to pace yourself early on and get comfortable; you can turn up the intensity as you approach the end of the race. In the end, make sure you remember your primary goal is simply the satisfaction of completing the race and getting yourself active.