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How to Go from Couch Potato to Runner

How to Go from Couch Potato to Runner

Being a couch potato is something that follows us in the wake of our sedentary lifestyle. We just get used to it. Though, to lead a healthy and happy life, it is important that we shun this lifestyle and start running like 'Forrest Gump'.
Foram Mehta
Climbed a few staircases and panting like you ran a marathon? This is common for those living a couch potato life.
A couch potato lifestyle seems cool at first. Laying back on your sofa with your legs stretched and watching all your favorite shows on TV. Ah! Heavenly. But wait-up! Do you have any idea what this lifestyle has done to your mental and physical well-being? I will give you a generalized view on how it can or has already affected you. Because of lack of physical activity your metabolic rate will lower. This in turn will increase the fat content in your body, and flab will be seen on your stomach, hands, etc. Also, You will become a pro at procrastinating, and laziness will overtake your 'will' to doing things that need physical exertion. These are just a few things that you observe right now, but you need to know what happens in the long run, if this lifestyle continues. Chances of you getting a heart attack and cancer increases. You become prone to respiratory diseases, diabetes, and arthritis at an early age. It decreases your immunity, which in turn will make you prone to all sorts of disorders and your recovery rate will be lower than normal. It was stated in a report that, effects of lack of exercise can be more harmful than smoking.
Now, that you know what a couch potato lifestyle can do to you, I am sure you want to start running right away. And, I am here to tell you how. The thought of being able to run even a mile can make you tired. But, stick to your decision and say "I'll do it". I will chalk out a plan which you can follow in order to start running.
Couch Potato to Runner - 5 Week Plan
There are a few points you will need to follow for the plan to work effectively.
  • Always start and end your workout with a walk.
  • Always carry a bottle of water and glucose with you.
  • Wear a comfortable outfit while running or jogging.
  • Never workout with an empty stomach. You can eat a fruit half an hour before the workout.
  • If you had a meal then keep a gap of about 1 1/2 hours before running.
  • You will have to change your diet to make your workout effective. You will need to take in more of protein rich food and stop consuming alcohol, and fatty and oily food products.
  • Wear a watch or carry a timer to keep a track of time.
  • You can take an off on Sunday :).
Week 1
Get up early in the morning around 6.30 (depending on work schedule) and go to a nearby jogger's park or a treadmill and start brisk-walking. Walk for at least 30 minutes, continuously. You can maintain the same speed and the same distance for the first week. This will help you in building some stamina you'll need for jogging and running later on.
Week 2
First 3 days
Congratulations for sticking to your running resolution. Now that 'Week 1' is accomplished, it is time to increase the distance and the speed of your brisk walk. Increase the distance by half for the first three days and walk as fast as you can.
Next 3 days
After having increased your distance by half, it's time to increase the distance covered. Now, double your initial distance and increase your speed to the maximum (what you can manage).
Week 3
Great Work! Kudos for successful completion of 'week two'. It's now time to incorporate some jogging into your walking activity.
First 3 Days
For the first 3 days, start with walking for 10 minutes and then start jogging for 15 minutes or till whatever time you can. End your workout by taking a walk for five minutes.

Next 3 days
It's again time to increase the distance you will be jogging. Now you increase the workout time to 45 minutes. You will start with a brisk walk for 10 minutes and then jog for 12 minutes followed by a walk of 3 minutes. Repeat this twice and end your workout with a 5-minute walk.
Week 4
First 4 Days
Finally we come to the fourth week of our schedule. For this week, you will start with a 10-minute walk, followed by a jog of 20 minutes and a walk of 5 minutes. Repeat this twice. Increase your speed of jogging and push yourself to attain this target.
Next 2 days
For the other two days, you now begin to incorporate running with jogging. You start off with a walk of 10 minutes and jog for 10 minutes after which you start running for 10 minutes. Take a break of 5 minutes if required and then start again.
Week 5
In week 5, you will follow the 'next 2 days' schedule from week four. The only change will be that you will increase your running duration by 2 minutes daily, for the entire week (6 days). If you attain this target, you know that you have already begun to run.
Calories Burnt in Walking, Jogging and Running
In the table given below, I have listed the number of calories you will burn while walking, jogging, and running for 30 minutes.
Activity Speed / Type 130 lbs 150 lbs 180 lbs 210 lbs
Walking 2 mph 82 95 113 132
3 mph 129 148 178 208
4 mph 152 176 211 246
Jogging General 216 250 300 350
On a Mini-tramp 139 160 192 224
In place 247 285 343 400
Running 5 mph 250 288 346 403
6 mph 296 342 410 479
7 mph 339 391 470 548
8 mph 398 459 551 643
10 mph 530 612 743 612
12 mph 659 760 734 1065

It is very-very important that you always carry at least a 1 liter water-bottle everyday. You can also add glucose to it, so that you remain energetic and hydrated. Call a friend for company if you think it's boring to go alone. Though, I feel that when one pushes oneself without anyone's company and influence, one tends to accomplish the target more efficiently. You'll be amazed with the results. "The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start." - John Bingham
There are other activities you can choose to perform, like swimming, skating, dancing, skiing, kayaking, cycling, football, etc. They can be fun and will keep you active.
Stay fit, stay healthy!