Friday, February 27, 2009

Training Tips for Easing Into Running

Guest blogger, Tim Grizzell, Former Navy SEAL

A few weeks ago, a Charlie Mike Teammate asked Tim for some advice: "How do I go from walking to running when walking feels great and running feels awkward to me?"

Hello Lisa:

I am fired up to hear that you did Rudy’s Navy SEAL challenge and got the experience of turning yourself into a “sugar cookie,” otherwise known as getting wet and sandy! Congratulations on finishing the Virginia Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. You only gave yourself less than a month’s notice and you did it. I like it. You obviously have a positive attitude that inspired you to do the event in the first place and carried you through the event. I like to refer to it as “FIRE IN THE GUT!”

I will begin by saying that you are on the right track to go from walking to running. You have completed athletic events where you did both walking and running. Also, making slight modifications to your diet is a more sustainable approach that will work in the long-term versus some extreme diet.

Given that running has not been part of your weekly exercise program for many years, you will want to ease into it. From a physical perspective, you need to condition your muscles, joints and tendons for running. The last thing you want is an overuse injury by jumping into it too quickly.

On the mental side of things, you do not want to lose your motivation and desire to run by doing too much at the beginning. I will say though that you are going to have to push yourself out of the comfort zone. You clearly like to walk. Walking is great exercise and that is what your mind knows. Right now for you, running is somewhat of a foreign exercise. Yet – running will not feel as awkward the more you do it.

In terms of training tips for easing into running, I suggest the following:

-After you have properly warmed up, run a quarter mile, walk a quarter mile, repeat. I would try to do this running program three days a week.

-Once you are comfortable with the above program for some weeks, I would try running a half mile, walk a quarter mile (or a half mile if you need it), and repeat.

-I would just keep doing this type of training until you have worked up to a program where you can run a mile without walking. Just try to continue to building from here and give yourself small victories.

-Eventually, running will not feel awkward and you will probably start to run and not want to stop.

I will finish by sharing some personal thoughts on running versus walking. When I am running, I am generally thinking about a number of things that have nothing to do with the environment around me. My mind tends to wander and I come up with a lot of creative ideas and thoughts. Also, I am an “endorphin junkie.” Walking, on the other hand, produces some different feelings. I tend to become more aware of the environment around me, especially if I am hiking in the mountains or along an ocean side cliff. Although my mind is free to wander when walking, it is not with the same intensity as running.

I would be happy to answer any more questions about running you might have as you get further into your running program.

Fired Up!


Teammates -- Tim Grizzell returns to Charlie Mike next month. Get Fired Up to train for a Marathon with Tim!


Joe G. said...

Thanks to Bro. Al for an excellent article on running.

Lisa is on her way to winning a trophy, guaranteed, if she follows Tim’s advice.

Lest we forget that these guys know – like the backs of their hands – how to perform to the max, just about every day we get free advice from one of our favorite blog sites: Charlie Mike!!

As a long-time runner myself, and a bad walker (don’t throw anything at the screen; I will explain below), I only wish I were 20 years younger so I could challenge Tim in an upcoming marathon.

Lisa, note that walking can be varied, just as running is. In other words, you can run a fast ¼ mile at a super-high intensity level, or jog a whole mile at low intensity. Hiking or climbing could be extremely intense, of course. Walking fast, obviously, can also be intense. It is a fantastic exercise, although, as Tim points out, it is totally different than running.

Walking is particularly suited for girls. Do not, repeat NOT, throw anything at your computer or curse me.

Walking is particularly suited to women. I am referring to fast walking, power walking or speed walking – whatever you care to call it when people clearly are not just ambling or strolling down the street or through the park. They are exercising, and doing so intently and sometimes intensely.

Before anybody calls me a sexist, right-wing throw back kook who should be shot, let me explain myself. Walking suits women because they LOOK natural walking. It has to do with culture.

Do not misunderstand me.

Guys have the same muscles and can gain the same benefits from walking, but, well, I guess I am going off on another one of those infamous, uninteresting rants, aren’t I?


I’ll finish with this: The sheriff of our little town took up walking a few years ago. He walked daily, and I mean aggressively, quick and with purpose – and quit after a few weeks. Why? I personally think it is because it just doesn’t look manly.

Am I small minded?

Don’t be so serious. I am only expressing my opinion. Walking is especially suited for girls, many of whom can probably beat me up by the way (and may actually do so if I don’t quit typing).

Have a lovely weekend, brothers and sisters.

Joe G. said...

Thanks to Charlie Mike, this morning I ran 3 miles in 21:08 -- MY FASTEST EVER IN A TIMED THREE-MILER!

Perfect Pushups WILL help you to your fitness goals, guys and gals. I'm living proof!

Lisa A said...


Are you saying women shouldn't run or men shouldn't walk ? Not looking for a trophy but I'll be following Tim's advice !