Running FAQ # 1 - How often should I run?
I've been running for over 10 years now, and I've had a lot of people ask me questions about running during that time. One of the questions I am most frequently asked is how often should a person run?
This is a loaded question, because it often comes without any added details, like "I'm running because I want to..." or "I have/haven't run on a regular basis before", "my left ACL isn't 100% intact" and the like.
Assuming the person is in "good" health (read: I don't think they'll pass out bending over to put on their shoes), I generally advise them to start running every other day for 10 minutes. Just head out the door whenever you like and run at your own pace for 10 minutes.
Why 10 minutes? 5 seems like a waste of effort to most people, and 15 sounds too much like 20, which to most people sounds like an hour. 10 minutes doesn't seem like too much of a challenge, but it isn't something that everyone is 100% sure they can do. They seem to want to try it just to prove they can.
The next questions is invariably "So, I just run?". Yes. Take a nod from Nike and just do it.
Don't worry about speed or distance; focus on how running makes you feel. Do you have consistent pain in one area? Does one leg or shoulder cramp up near the end of your jog? How measured is your breathing? Signs like these will help you figure out what you need to focus on as you add more time to your every other day routine.
Next FAQ - How do I prepare for my first 5K?