Let’s start with duration. If you can walk for 6-8 minutes before you run out of steam then do that! If you can jog/run/bike for 20 minutes, great! Let’s find out where you are and we can go from there. So let’s say you can jog/run for 12 minutes today. Awesome! I suggest that you take a break tomorrow and not run. The following day I want you to shoot for an increase of only about 10% in duration, so a minimum of 12 minutes and a maximum of 13 minutes. What if you feel great and want to go for 15? You could do that and you might feel great. But how will you feel the next day after doing 15 minutes? I don’t know and neither do you and the intent is to make sure that the next day you feel good and the day after you are ready for your next run. So here is a chart of what your run times would look like by following my 10% rule if you started out running only 12 minutes.
So let’s address intensity. The earlier recommendation was for “moderate intensity.” So what is moderate intensity? If I came up to you while you were running and asked you how your run was going, a moderate intensity performance would allow you to say something like “I’m doing okay. Almost done.” If you can only spit out a single word or two (‘okay’ or ‘ it’s going’), you probably need to slow it down a bit. On the other hand if you start telling me about how you spilled your coffee on the way to work and you ended up getting chewed out by your boss for being late you probably have to crank up the intensity a notch or two.
But the first thing I work on with clients is duration and then we address intensity. So let’s get you running or biking or using that elliptical for 30 minutes, 5 times per week and then we can work on varying the intensity of your workout.