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Thursday, December 5, 2013
What Steps Should I Take to Run Again?
I want to run but I am very much out of shape-knees hurt, not flexible, pain while stretching etc. What steps can I take so that I can be in the position to run again?
Thank you for your question. As always, we recommend having a physical exam before beginning any exercise program, especially since you have some concerns with knee pain and lack of flexibility. This exam will give you baseline information on your weight, blood pressure, heart rate and identify any orthopedic issues you may have.
Once your physician clears you to workout, I would suggest beginning with pool workouts 3-4 times/week (water aerobics, swimming, jogging in the deep end) where you add time on to each session for one or two weeks.
After two weeks, I would progress to seated bike workouts 3-4 time/wk. During these workouts, include both distance (30-40 minutes at a steady pace) and sprint work (i.e. after a 5 minute warm up, peddle as fast as you can for 20 seconds, then peddle slowly for 40 seconds, repeat for 20 sprints and follow with a 5 minute cool down).
After this week, you can progress to an elliptical machine, which is very easy on the joints.
So one month into your workouts, you can start on your running program. Many websites will have free programs you can follow. I attached one from Runner's World.
I would also recommend you include some strength training 2-3 times a week, even if it is only 20 minutes (3-4 exercises with dumbbells).
Additionally, you will need to make changes to your diet to include the right foods to give you energy to workout. Your physician can recommend someone to speak with regarding your diet.
It may be in your best interest to join a gym that will include some sessions with a certified personal trainer who can help you design your workout program and make sure you are familiar with all the equipment.
Starting an exercise program can seem daunting, but make a plan, make time in your day and stick to the program. It may take several weeks to see significant gains, but if you stay with it, you will achieve your goal!
Vincent J O'Brien, ATC
Head Athletic Trainer
Clinical Instructor at the School of Allied Medical Professions
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University