Sunday, February 6, 2011

Are we born to run?

As a life long runner, a lover of cross country (where to be successful you need to run in a pack), Christopher McDougal's TED Talk strikes a resounding bell for me. Will I ditch my shoes and start running longer? I don't think so. Ditching shoes to run in an urban environment is too risky. Nevermind the kind of weather we are having, running wouldn't be practical at all.

You do need to walk before you run. And in this weather, if you don't want to venture outside as the sidewalks are not cleared enough, go to the High School. Tue-Wed-Thu evenings beginning about 5:30 (as I recall) there is an indoor walking club. You can walk the halls of the school in the relative comfort of the indoor space and get the healthy exercise your body craves.

As the weather improves, move the walk outside. Walk through your neighborhood, walk to downtown and back, explore side roads in Franklin. There are lots of good opportunities for walking.

When you can walk 4-5 miles comfortably, when you can walk and talk the whole way without breathing heavy, then, and only then, should you consider bringing your walk to a faster pace. After being comfortable at a faster pace for some time (perhaps several weeks), then you can consider taking your faster walking pace into a jog or easy running pace.

What kind of pace is that? Covering the 5 miles in close to an hour. If you can do the 5 miles in under an hour, you should be ready.

Should everyone run? Maybe not, but most everyone should be able to walk.

Franklin, MA


  1. The running dilemma. For fat loss and overall cardiovascular health, interval training is far more effective than LSD (long slow distance) running. I would indicate intervals for everyone unless there was a medical issue that prevents it. Using a bike you also spare your joints the repetitive impact of running.

    Running is terrible on the joints, especially for women with how the femur inserts into the hips. If the goal is to get out and see some scenery while getting the heart pumping, I would prefer people to fast walk instead (even it if looks a bit silly).

    I agree, Steve, everyone should be able to walk.

  2. Thanks, Matt. As with any exercise, listening to the body and moderation is key.

    Interval running, properly done, is a good part of the three days a week workouts in the FIRST Program. Intervals (or pace work) tempo runs, and long distance runs are the three types of workout in this program. The program also abides by the hard easy program, so each day is an effort or 'hard' (again listening to what you can do on that day) and the next day is easy (actually 'NO' running). They do recommend that two days a week you do some cross training whether weights, biking, swimming etc. is up to the individual.

    I found the FIRST program in Aug 2005 and I have used it successfully since then.