After two years, I was able to get back on the treadmill with the help of this 20-minute beginner’s running workout.
I am not someone who battles with motivation when it comes to creating time for movement each day. However, when it comes to putting on my sneakers and heading out the door for a run, even a 20-minute beginning run, I can come up with a thousand excuses why I shouldn’t: I’m not warmed up, I don’t have time, tomorrow would be better, I just washed my hair, I’m about to wash my hair, it’s a Thursday, mercury is in retrograde…need I say more?
While I’m not a believer in forcing oneself to do something you don’t want to do, there are aspects of running that I enjoy. Putting one foot in front of the other may be very relaxing for me as an over-thinker. Plus, even keeping up a semi-regular running routine offers you a sense of success.
The Presidential Fitness Test was my first memory of running, and it was not a good one. (I’ve subsequently found that this type of torture is common), which included having to run a mile in a certain amount of time or being deemed “unfit.” I gave it my all for about 20 seconds, petered out quickly, and failed the test, despite never having run for a single, solitary moment in my whole life. It was then that I made the decision: I. HATE. RUNNING.
But a few years ago, I recognized that one incident in seventh grade shouldn’t define my entire life, and it was time to give running a serious go. I started gently, built up my endurance, and then, to my surprise, began to like it. Unfortunately, I damaged my shoulder and had to take a sabbatical just when I was developing confidence as a runner. Running was too physically taxing for me, and I didn’t think I’d ever been able to start it up again.
After two years and one shoulder surgery, my physical therapist gave me the excellent news: I could now start higher-intensity exercise! She stated that I had most likely established a mental barrier about jogging and that starting slowly with one-minute intervals would be totally safe. Interval running also has some practical benefits, according to her: it can lower your chance of injury, reduce stress, and improve your total aerobic capacity.
I kept the speeds low on my first run back, but even after being away from the sport for a time, I was able to find ways to challenge myself. I’m convinced that if I stick with it long enough, I’ll see some incremental development. Try starting with this 20-minute introductory running routine if you want to ease back into the sport.
Beginners should do a 20-minute interval run.
Warm-up for 1–3 minutes at a brisk walking pace (2.5 mph3.5 mph)
Minutes 4–19: every 60 seconds, alternate between a quick jog or run (5–7mph) and your brisk walking pace.
Minute 20: do a quick stroll (2–3mph) to cool down.
Before you start running, don’t forget to warm up your core:
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