When You Can’t Run, Walk

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So you want to start running

You’ve committed yourself to start running. You want to take control of your health, improve your fitness, look better and maybe participate in some running events for charity or the challenge.

One problem. You realise you can’t run.

Maybe your fitness is so low that running a few strides depletes your energy stores or your anxious you won’t be able to complete a full running distance immediately.
Whatever your barriers to running, you can and will break through them through walking.

It’s okay to start slow

Think about a time in your life when you started something new. A musical instrument, learning a computer skill, cooking a new recipe, speaking at a friend or family member’s wedding, travelling abroad.

Doing something totally new for the first time will cause nervousness. You are voluntarily going into the unknown to challenge yourself and acquire knowledge.

Testing the water first is always a good idea 

Testing the water by walking, is a smart and effective way to ease yourself into a running routine
Testing the water by walking, is a smart and effective way to ease yourself into a running routine

Before you can complete the activity competently, with confidence, you will always ‘test the water’ by lightly trying the activity first. When preparing a speech, you will write it out then practice it slowly and gradually, often in front of a mirror and a friend, before feeling confident in delivering it.

You wouldn’t just rock up and deliver a flawless speech, taking people through an emotional journey of the couple’s achievements and struggles, with laughter. This works in the movies, but not in real life.

A more realistic approach is gradually easing yourself into the running, with lower intensity walking. Most people can and know how to walk, so don’t feel overwhelmed when completing this simple activity.

What shoes for walking?

Running is a low-intensity activity, but there is a degree of impact as your foot contacts the pavement. Quality walking footwear not only lowers the risk of injury but enhances the walking experience massively. Well worth the investment.

ASICS, New Balance and Adidas tend to manufacture the best walking shoes.

Setting daily step goals

There has been much debate about setting a daily steps to target to hit. Why set a numeric target anyway? So, you have a fixed measurable goal to work towards.

When following a cake recipe, you don’t just chuck in a random amount of sugar and flower and hope the cake comes out right, this would end in sugary disaster. You need a precise measurement, to make the cake, just like you need a gradually increased steps goal to improve general fitness before you start running.

You should aim to walk daily to establish routine and discipline.

An activity tracker, like a Fitbit, is ideal for tracking your daily steps progress.
An activity tracker, like a Fitbit, is ideal for tracking your daily steps progress.

For the first 3-5, walk at least 3000 steps. Use a Fitbit or mobile phone how many steps you’re doing. The pace isn’t crucial at this stage; getting you moving, motivated and into a routine, is what’s important.

When you can comfortably walk 3000 a day, increase your target to 5000, then 7000 as you become more confident.

Ideally, you want to establish a routine (at least 2 weeks) where you consistently walk 7500 steps or more a day to be considered active. Some say 10,000 is the golden number for great fitness, however, factors like your pace and the environmental incline (hills and slopes) will influence the intensity of exercise.

Creative ways to add walking to your daily routine

Schedule a daily time for walking and plan your route. Schedule 20 minutes before to walk 3 times around the block, walk 30 minutes before dinner around a local park, take your dog out for frequent, long walks.

Daily step targets are great because everything adds up. Take the stairs instead of the lift, park further away from where you drive to, clean your house or room (yes, this gets you walking), go out with friends and family.

Create a daily walking time and stick to it, even if it’s raining or extremely sunny. Staying disciplined shows, you have massive self-respect.

Go for a walk today

Get on your feet and walk. It may be difficult at first, but once you successfully hit your first few daily step targets you will gain confidence and momentum, encouraging you to keep walking and challenging yourself.

Before you know it, your daily walking has started to change your fitness, health and how you feel. You’re ready to take it to the next level. You’re ready to run.

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