Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grandparenting.

The cookie recipes are a bonus!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Training Programs for Beginning Runners

Beginning any new undertaking can be daunting, especially if you don't have a plan, teacher, or guide. Running is no different. Fortunately, many beginning runners have gone before you and they have left a wealth of information to assist you in transforming from a non-runner into a runner. Training programs abound. The challenge is finding the right training program(s) for you. From apps and eBooks to printed books and downloads there is something out there that will fit your personality, fitness level, and lifestyle. I would like to help you find it.

Unless you are running from a bear, running as fast as you can as far as you can is NOT the best practice for a beginner. While it may sound logical to run as much as you can one day and then push yourself past that point the next, you want to be able to walk the day after your first run - and the next. Let's take a look at some of the training programs available to help you become the best beginning runner you can.

MapMyRun App for Beginning Runners

When I began running, I didn't even wear a watch. I didn't want to know how slow I was, nor did I want anyone else to know! However, I always carried my phone, just in case I collapsed and had to call for help or died and someone needed to locate my body. I began using MapMyRun on my computer to determine how long my run was and to map out courses when I was following training plans for races. (We will look at those later.) I discovered that I could log a workout to learn how many calories I had burned, how my speed compared to a previous workout, etc.

Enter my first Smart Phone. MapMyRun was available on my phone! I could simply start the app and let it map and log my workout. I could save the workout date with a simple tap of my thumb. No more following roads on a map with my cursor. No more entering my time by hand. It was all there - even my running music. The MapMyRun app changed my life!

If you are new to running and own a Smart Phone, I would suggest finding an app that suits you and put it into use now! MayMyRun works for me, but it isn't the only app out there. Watch for information from guest bloggers regarding their apps of preference.

Smart Coach Training Plan for Beginning Runners

If you have a few miles under your belt and you've been brave enough to time some of those miles, the Smart Coach feature at Runners World can help you prepare for a race or simply increase your miles while lowering your pace. It is custom designed with your current statistics such as average miles per week, recent fastest pace, desired training effort, goal or race date, and day of the week for your long run. Unfortunately for us running grannies, it doesn't calculate age, so we don't get a break just because we are old. Plug in your information and Smart Coach will download a printable program that indicates what days to run, how far and how fast to run, and a goal time when you've completed the plan. It's personalized and its personal - nobody has to see it but you.

Smart Coach isn't the only personalized training plan out there. We will examine others, as well.

Run Your Butt Off! Book for Beginning Runners

For those beginning runners that are focused on losing weight and want to do a little research before they dive in, Runners World has published Run Your Butt Off! A breakthrough Plan to Lose Weight and Start Running. If you prefer a hard copy that you can pack around, turn down the pages, scribble in the margins and log goals, food, and exercise stats by hand, this book may fit your needs. 

Run Your Butt Off! is just one of many running guides available. We will also take a look at other books and handbooks to help you reach your goals.

Whatever your fitness level, you can begin today to improve. If you think you can't run, chances are you are wrong. It may take a little longer (you have to walk before you can run) and it may hurt a little bit (life hurts) but as I like to inscribe my book, The Hard Run: Painful Lessons from a Running Granny, "Life is hard. Keep moving forward!"

Happy Running!

- Carol aka Running Granny Green
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