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For the avid runner there are numerous races posted online to enter, ranging from a 5K to a marathon. Using the Google search engine, one can find on any given weekend a local race within minutes or an hour from his or her home.

For walkers wishing to venture into the running realm, running a 5K may be too big of a step from walking to running. That’s why a mile run could be a good transition because it does not require a high level of endurance.

In this blog, I hope to speak to those walkers who desire to test their running abilities by presenting a simple 1- to 2-week plan for running a mile without walking. At this point, the time it takes to complete the mile is not important; just completing it is the focus.

The question one might ask is “How do I begin?” What follows are two general prerequisites: 1. You currently can walk at least 20 to 30 minutes at time without stopping, and 2. you already own, or intend to purchase a pair of quality running shoes with adequate cushioning and support for your body frame and foot strike.

If you’re uncertain what kind of shoes to buy, visit a running store such as Appalachian Running Company in Carlisle. The staff members there are trained to analyze your running form and foot plant to best determine which shoes are best for you.

What’s next? Find a local high school or college running track. The standard size is 400 meters, which means four laps are just shy of one mile by a few yards. When running on a track, practice courteous track etiquette by staying in the outer lanes if faster runners are there at the same time.

If a track is not close, there are alternatives. If you live in a development or along a road with a decent shoulder, measure a mile course using your car odometer or GPS. Within that mile course, pinpoint three checkpoints (i.e. a mailbox, tree, telephone pole or sign) to represent about a quarter mile.

The plan

The following is the basic plan for training on a 400-meter track. It is presented in four phases. Each phase is designed for one day’s work out:

Phase 1: Walk 3 laps – Run* 1 lap – walk** 1 lap

Phase 2: Walk 2 laps – Run* 2 laps – walk** 1 lap

Phase 3: Walk 1 lap – Run* 3 laps – walk** 2 laps

Phase 4: Run* 4 laps – Walk** 2 laps – Congratulations! You did it!

* Run or jog at a pace which allows you to talk comfortably if you have a partner

**Walking may help prevent some stiffness from occurring

Suggestions

Gauge the length of each day’s workout and the transition from one phase to the next one by your fatigue. Depending upon your fitness level, you may be able to complete two phases in one daily workout.

As a general rule, it is better to advance through the phases slowly to gradually strengthen your cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Injuries also can be prevented by not running too much too soon.

As I final note ... once you have met your goal, you may wish to train to see how fast you can run a mile. Adding the time element to your mile training will definitely increase your fitness level and help with weight loss.

Denny Lebo is a member service representative at Carlisle Family YMCA.

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