It’s time to whip yourself into shape. No matter how out of shape you are, there is always a way to head down the road to a healthier lifestyle. I applaud you for this. Where do you begin? “How to run 1 mile when you’re out of shape?” is a common question asked by new runners. Depending on what advice you take, it could make or break your future running career.
How to run one mile when you’re out of shape?
First, you need to assess how out of shape you are and your current fitness level. After an assessment, you will have determined your level of physical unfitness and follow one of the three training plans outlined. The total amount of time it takes could take anywhere from 2 weeks to 9 weeks to successfully be able to run 1 mile without stopping.
When was the last time you ran? Since you’re reading this article I’m going to assume that the last time your ran might as well be 5 years ago. Depending on how out of shape you are, you could be running 1 mile in less than 1 week or it could take you weeks before your able to run 1 mile. This depends on your commitment, fitness level, and determination.
I’m going to assume that you’re not injured and that you have the ability to at least walk without falling apart. I know I shouldn’t have to say this but if your injured, right now is not the time to start running 1 mile.
Below I’ll layout three plans that range from horrible shape to average shape. If you’re in good shape you’re probably not reading this because you should be able to run one mile with little problem.
Horrible shape – You really haven’t ever exercised. You might be overweight and you possibly could have trouble walking.
Absolutely out of shape – You have exercised in over a year maybe more. You can’t remember the last time you tried to run.
Little less than average shape – You try to hit the gym at least a couple of times a week. You go for small walks at least a couple of times a week.
You don’t have to go out and buy a $130 pair of running shoes (unless you plan on running for the long haul). However, don’t go out and buy $10 shoes from the general dollar store either. Plan on wearing some shoes that range in the $30-$40 price area. You can find many name brand shoes for this price at sports stores.
Even if you buy a pair of running shoes for $45 and you want to upgrade your shoes, you can always donate your shoes for a good cause (here is one donation site One World Running).
I’ve been running for years and I walk for at least 5 minutes before I start running. Sometimes I’ll walk 10 to 15 minutes before I start running. In a recent study in 2014, determined that when people moved from a sitting to walking position for 5 minutes increased creative by 60%, Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking, Marily Oppezzo and Daniel L. Schwartz).
Moving your body from a state of sitting to walk helps prepare your body that you’re about to start running. At this point mentally, your receptors are firing signals to your body telling it that you’re about to start running. Warming up serves this purpose of connecting the mind and body so that you can mentally take on the challenge of running.
Deep Breathing (Belly Breathing) – You need to start using belly breathing or deep breathing. Do you remember when you went to the doctor’s office and they grab their stethoscope and ask you to breathe deeply (inhale and exhale). Essentially, deep breathing is the same thing.
Breathing and Cadence – Try to aim for a 2:2 ratio or a 3:3 ratio:
3 steps – breathe in
3 steps – breath out
Breathe through your mouth and nose – the word “aerobic” means with oxygen. The more carbon dioxide you can exhale, the more oxygen you can inhale. 80% of your running comes from aerobic exercise. You need oxygen in order to run aerobically. If you breathe solely through your nose you are limiting your oxygen supply, thus limiting your ability to run without tiring. Try to breathe through your mouth and nose. The more volume of carbon dioxide you can exhale the more oxygen your lungs can inhale.
You will need to dedicate at least 4 days of training per week (3 days is the bare minimum). If you can only exercise for 3 days just eliminate the last day of training for that week. Persistence is what will pay off when you’re conditioning your body to run for one mile without stopping.
This is going to depend on how overweight you are. First, you need to determine what your ideal weight is based off of BMI. After finding your ideal weight, you calculate it by 20%. This will determine what weight you should be before you should start trying to run one mile. The BMI is flawed in many ways such as the inability to use waist circumference in determining a more realistic BMI.
For example: If you weigh 200 pounds and your ideal weight it 180 pounds then you need weight at a maximum of 216 pounds. In this case, I would say that it’s ok to try to start the training plan as long as your medically licensed doctor says it’s ok.
A second example: If you weigh 270 pounds and your ideal weight it 200 pounds then you need weight at a maximum of 250 pounds. In this case, I would say that you need to concentrate more on losing weight by adopting a healthier eating lifestyle first. After you get closer to 250 pounds then you could start the training plan as long as your medically licensed doctor says it’s ok.
Trying to run when you’re overweight could cause undue stress on your knees and ligaments. Since running is an impact sport the excessive weight that is pressed down onto each foot with every footfall could lead to injury. Walking doesn’t cause near as much stress on your feet because your feet are always touching the ground when you walk.
Take a trial run to see where your fitness level stands. Try to follow these simple rules when you perform a test run:
Note how long you were able to run for before stopping at the 5-minute mark. We will call this number your run threshold for now.
If you can run for between 4 and 5 minutes then you’re halfway there. If you can run for 2-3 minutes then your probably in the middle. If you can run less than 2 minutes then you will be starting from the bottom.
Level 3 – you can run for 4-5 minutes
Level 2 – you can run for 2-3 minutes
Level 1 – you can run for 0-2 minutes
For Level 3 runners it will take you approximately 2 weeks to be able to run a mile.
For Level 2 runners it will take you approximately 5 weeks to be able to run a mile.
For Level 1 runners it will take you approximately 9 weeks to be able to run a mile.
|Week||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||Days 5,6,7|
|1||( R 5 / W 1 ) x 2||( R 5 / W 1 ) x 2||( R 5 / W 1 ) x 1||( R 5 / W 1 ) x 1||Rest / CT|
|2||( R 5 / W 1 ) x 2||( R 3 / W 2 ) x 3||( R 4 / W 2 ) x 3||( R 4 / W 2 ) x 3||Run 1 Mile|
|Week||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||Days 5,6,7|
|1||( R 2 / W 1 ) x 4||( R 2 / W 1 ) x 4||( R 2 / W 1 ) x 4||( R 2 / W 1 ) x 4||Rest / CT|
|2||( R 3 / W 3 ) x 3||( R 3 / W 3 ) x 3||( R 3 / W 3 ) x 3||( R 3 / W 3 ) x 3||Rest / CT|
|3||( R 4 / W 2 ) x 2||( R 4 / W 2 ) x 2||( R 4 / W 2 ) x 2||( R 4 / W 2 ) x 2||Rest / CT|
|4||( R 5 / W 1 ) x 2||( R 5 / W 1 ) x 2||( R 5 / W 1 ) x 1||( R 5 / W 1 ) x 1||Rest / CT|
|5||( R 5 / W 1 ) x 2||( R 3 / W 2 ) x 3||( R 4 / W 2 ) x 3||( R 4 / W 2 ) x 3||Run 1 Mile|
|Week||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||Days 5,6,7|
|1||( W 4 / R 1 ) x 3||( W 4 / R 1 ) x 3||( W 4 / R 1 ) x 3||( W 4 / R 1 ) x 3||Rest / CT|
|2||( W 3 / R 1 ) x 3||( W 3 / R 1 ) x 3||( W 3 / R 1 ) x 3||( W 3 / R 1 ) x 3||Rest / CT|
|3||( W 2 / R 1 ) x 4||( W 2 / R 1 ) x 4||( W 2 / R 1 ) x 4||( W 2 / R 1 ) x 4||Rest / CT|
|4||( W 1 / R 1 ) x 5||( W 1 / R 1 ) x 5||( W 1 / R 1 ) x 5||( W 1 / R 1 ) x 5||Rest / CT|
|5||( R 2 / W 1 ) x 4||( R 2 / W 1 ) x 4||( R 2 / W 1 ) x 4||( R 2 / W 1 ) x 4||Rest / CT|
|6||( R 3 / W 3 ) x 3||( R 3 / W 3 ) x 3||( R 3 / W 3 ) x 3||( R 3 / W 3 ) x 3||Rest / CT|
|7||( R 4 / W 2 ) x 2||( R 4 / W 2 ) x 2||( R 4 / W 2 ) x 2||( R 4 / W 2 ) x 2||Rest / CT|
|8||( R 5 / W 1 ) x 2||( R 5 / W 1 ) x 2||( R 5 / W 1 ) x 1||( R 5 / W 1 ) x 1||Rest / CT|
|9||( R 5 / W 1 ) x 2||( R 3 / W 2 ) x 3||( R 4 / W 2 ) x 3||( R 4 / W 2 ) x 3||Run 1 Mile|
All you need to do is walk for an extra 5 to 10 minutes to help your muscles move from a running/elastic state to a walking and eventually sedentary state.
For some of the runners attempting to run one mile without stopping they will have to take more time during the training. While other runners will be ready to run 1 mile well before their projected date. The key I want to hit home with you is that it doesn’t matter how long it takes for you to complete the training. What does matter is that you don’t quit training, that is unless you’re hurt or injured?
Most new runners fail because they try to run too much too soon without proper training. Don’t be another statistic. Take your time, do the training, and magical things will happen. Plus, I want you to stick with running because I have lots of other running goals for you to achieve.
Remember that it can take up to three weeks to see the slightest benefit from running. I want you to enjoy a life of running well beyond a couple of weeks of training. If you get hooked and get the running bug, it will change your life in so many ways.
All runners from time to time will struggle with their training. Newer runners seem to struggle more often than seasoned runners. The main reason why seasoned runners don’t struggle near as much is due to the years of mental training that goes alongside running. Running is just as much mental as it is physical. If you want some motivation for your new running soul, read this post I wrote about 5 running myths debunked.