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Born to Run-Walk?

"Wogging" Can Be a Step Toward Running, or a Workout All Its Own

continued...

So how do you know if wogging is right for you?

Many people are candidates for a walk/jog program. Before starting any new fitness routine though, experts advise checking with your doctor to be sure you have no limitations.

Exercise physiologist and WebMD Weight Loss Clinic sports physciologist Rich Weil says a walk-run program works best for someone who's already been walking at least 30 minutes consistently a few times per week and wants to start running.

"The idea is, over time, you increase your jogging time and decrease your walking time," he says.

You do that by setting up intervals, says Weil. Let's say you already walk 30 minutes. One day, decide that you'll walk for five minutes and then jog for one or two. Repeat that pattern until you've finished the workout, and, over time, continue to lengthen the time you jog and shorten the time you walk.

Runner's World magazine has a 10-week plan to take wannabe runners from two-minute intervals in week one to a full-fledged, 30-minute run by week 10, simply by adding one to two minutes to each running interval each week (while reducing the same number of minutes spent walking).

"The reality is that you can improve your fitness walking or running or a combination of the two," says Hewitt. "Asking your body to do just a little bit more than the comfort level allows, you're teasing your functional limitations -- teasing that edge."

Of course, as with any new program, the hardest part of wogging is sticking with it.

"The first step is the hardest in anything you do," Isphording says. "It's always two weeks of hell when you first start. Your body's adapting to something new and so is your mind."

Here are her tips for starting -- and staying with -- a walk-run program:

  • Buy a pair of running shoes before beginning. They are lighter and absorb more shock than walking shoes.
  • Get a workout partner. Having someone else to answer to will keep you more honest, and more committed.
  • Have written goals. "It's important to have a plan, so everyday you're not saying, 'oh, my gosh, I didn't go as far today,'" says Isphording.
  • Keep a journal. Looking back on your progress can be a great motivator, and can help you detect patterns that lead to difficult workouts.
  • Have a goal or dream. And whether it's running a marathon or a neighborhood 10K, she says, "don't lose sight of that."
  • Ask lots of questions, and don't be afraid to ask more experienced athletes for their advice. "People help change you," Isphording says.

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Reviewed on July 13, 2004

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