Sincerely Carolina

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mailboxes, here we come.

by caroline

I’ve been running for a pretty long time. In fact, I was 12 years old when I first laced up my running shoes. My family was on vacation and my mom was about to head out for her daily run, when I decided I wanted to go with her. She took me along for the “ride” and I can honestly say it was one of the worst runs I have ever had in my life.

But I did it. And no matter how terrible it felt, I knew there was something there — something about running felt so natural and meant for me. I was hooked.

Now, more than 15 years later, I’m still hitting the pavement. But that’s not to say that it always comes easily. Some of my biggest, most humbling learning experiences have been dished out when I’ve been running. Some days, I’m cruising along, working out some of my best writing (in my head, of course). Other days, it’s all I can do to crawl to the finish point and try not to cry.

What’s more, even some of the most avid runners get off track sometimes. Whether it’s because of an injury or just plain ol’ life, what once came easily is now a challenge. And it’s not a simple task to get back into it. But I’ve found one of the best ways to wrangle my inner running badass back in is to start with walk-run intervals.

Consider this plan (it can be done on a treadmill or on the roads). It’s not rocket science and there’s nothing magic about it. Instead, it subscribes to what I call the run-to-the-next-mailbox theory. In my early days of running, my mom would challenge me to run to a certain point if I started to whimp out. She would say, “See that mailbox? Run to it. And when you get there, then you can stop.” I had no idea at the time, but my mom’s method was a great way to get me out of my head. The truth was, half the time I would run to that mailbox and then keep going.

Small challenges = big results, people.

Anyway, here’s the plan (click to print). The goal? Start with these intervals and then once you feel comfortable, begin to shorten the intervals.

For example:

3 minutes walking, 3 minutes running, 3 minutes walking, etc.

2 minutes walking, 2 minutes running, 2 minutes walking etc.

Of course, this will change the length of the workout, but you’ll also be working harder because you will not have nearly as much time to rest between running intervals.

Now, keep in mind that I’m not a certified fitness instructor, so definitely consult the professional peeps before giving this one a try. This is just a method that has worked for me and I wanted to share it with y’all.

No specific speed, no pressure. Just walking and running … whatever that means to you.

Once you’ve conquered this plan, the next goal is to begin to shorten the walking intervals. For example:

3 minutes walking, 5 minutes running, 3 minutes walking, etc.

2 minutes walking, 6 minutes running, 2 minutes walking etc.

The ultra, magnificent, balls-to-the-wall goal? Keep eliminating the walking until you are running for the whole time!

It definitely takes patience to get back into a running groove or start a new exercise plan entirely, but setting small, achievable goals will help you to more confidently rock out a solid sweat session.

Share please! What fitness goals have you set and achieved? How did you reward yourself?