If there’s on piece of advice I can offer someone who’s thinking about running, it’s find a program and stick to it like glue. No matter how physically fit you are or aren’t, if you’ve never run and you try to do too much to soon, you’ll just end up injured, frustrated, and you’ll likely give up.
EA SPORTS Active 5K training program
In October of 2009, the Sisterhood laced up their running shoes and hit the road using a customized training plan put together by EA SPORTS Active. EA SPORTS Active resident trainer, Gerard, provided us with a great training program that included a mix of outdoor runs/walks and workouts using EA SPORTS Active Personal Trainer for the Wii.
The program was simple to set up, consisting of 18 different strength exercises using Personal Trainer. The run/walk portion of the program required a watch or interval timer to keep track of when we were supposed to walk and run. Of course an iPod comes in handy for music to help pass the time, but it’s not necessary. The EA SPORTS Active training program was so fun and easy to follow. After 4 weeks of training, we held our first ever Sisterhood Virtual 5K, and I completed my 5K in 32 minutes.
Yes, 4 weeks is a quick turn around for running a 5K if you’ve never run before, so if you’re wanting to take it a little slower there are plenty of programs to get you to a 5K.
Couch to 5K (C25K)
The Couch to 5K program is one I’m sure most of you’ve heard of. Lots of new runners find this program a perfect fit, but don’t let the name fool you, because even if you’re not currently a couch potato, you can still benefit from doing this beginner program. The Couch to 5K program will have you running 30 continuous minutes in 9 weeks, and most people can complete a 5K in less than 40 minutes. The saying is that if you can run at least 30 minutes before your 5K race, your adrenaline will carry you through till the end of the race.
This particular program is just an online guide, so you’ll need a watch or interval timer to help you keep track of your minutes walking and running.
Other programs and stuff for your iPod
C25K App – This is an all-in-one application for iPhone users. The cost is $2.99 and it can be downloaded through the app store for your iPod or iPhone. The program consists of 9 weeks of training runs, and is based on the Couch to 5K program mentioned above. You can listen to your music and it’s also compatible with Nike+.
RunKeeper – This iPhone and Android app is based on GPS. The free version is good, but if you want to have the interval trainer functionality, you’ll have to purchase the Pro version at $9.95. It’s well worth the money if you have an iPhone, because it gives you all the features of a GPS unit, such as Garmin, at a fraction of the cost. The free version works with your music, and the Pro version shows your Playlists right on your RunKeeper dashboard. You can sync your workout with the RunKeeper site, which makes keeping track of your progress a snap.
Nike+ iPod Sport Kit – For the bargain price of $29.99 (or $19.99 if you have an iPhone 3GS) you can be the proud owner of this amazing little piece of technology. When I first started running, I knew I needed something that would keep me motivated, and I do love me some technology with charts and graphs. Nike+ works with your iPod Nano or iPhone, and if you have the 3GS iPhone, the app is already built in. You’ll need the foot pod, and if you wear Nike+ running shoes, there’s a sweet little spot under you insole to put it. If you don’t wear Nike runners, never fear! You can purchase an inexpensive pouch to velcro to your laces.
So what does it do? It keeps track of your miles (or kilometers) based on your stride. Kind of like a pedometer on crack, because it also integrates with your music, has several different pre-programmed workouts, lets you set up customized workouts, choose your playlists, tells you how great your doing, and it may or may not wash your dishes, too.
There you have it. A brief (okay, not really) run down of some of the training programs out there. Check them out and see which one works for you. As I said before, knowledge is power! Just make sure that you find a program before you hit the road, because the one of the most common problems new runners face is injury due to “too much, too soon”. In other words, take it slow. You’ll have plenty of time later to worry about how fast you’re running!
If you’re already a runner, and you have suggestions for new runners, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!
Check out our “How To” Series on Running, Part 2, where Melissa will bring you information on gear you’ll need for running and the Sisterhood to picks!
Disclaimer: The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans was not paid by anyone to write this post. We did receive copies of EA SPORTS Active Personal Trainer last year in exchange for participating in their 30-Day Challenge and then in the 5K program. Our opinions are completely our own.