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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, February 14, 2008

Tips on starting running regimen

Washington Post

Just for the record, 7 1/2 morning miles do not go down well after a day of shrimp etouffee and triple-rum Hurricanes. Mardi Gras or no Mardi Gras, there are some rookie runner's mistakes you'll want to avoid.

The idea of starting a running program may be intimidating, particularly if you've been inactive for a while and may still be feeling the waistline effects of the post-holiday season binges that can come with Super Bowl Sunday and Mardi Gras. Here are some tips and resources to get yourself going:

1. Be patient. It takes time for your body to adapt to a new activity. In the beginning, persistence is more important than distance or speed. Get out a few times a week whether you walk, run or alternate between them.

2. Take it easy - but keep track of what you do. Over time, you'll be able to cover more distance and build speed. You won't see the progress if you don't keep the data.

3. Don't skimp on gear, particularly shoes. Wicking fabric may cost more, but it dries fast and won't leave you sopping wet. Running shoes are designed to address different issues with your gait: The specialty stores know those differences and can save you a lot of heartache.

4. Warm up, cool down. A five- to 10-minute walk or slow jog at the start of the run will make the whole process less miserable. A few minutes of stretching at the end will lower the risk of injury and help minimize some of the usual aches and pains.

5. Don't be afraid of food. Many of us are in this to help with weight control, but starving yourself - or eliminating whole food groups - is not the way to do it. You need a balance of carbs, protein and, yes, fats, to stay healthy.


  • Beginner workouts: The Cool Running Web site (www.coolrunning.com) has a "couch to 5K" schedule that will build you up to three miles over nine weeks. Runner's World (www.runnersworld.com) will get you to about the same point in eight weeks.

  • Shoes: A good place to start is the Runner's World shoe finder (www.runnersworld.com). Along with the database of shoes, it has information about foot mechanics that can help when you go shopping.

  • Support: If you want help structuring your workouts and a chance to make friends along the way, look into local groups.