Salty Running features articles by and for women looking to improve their training and performance, and offers a free “Running for Beginners”  program that can provide anyone with a good, simple introduction to the sport.

Running is my favorite heart-healthy exercise, and is demonstrated to lower cholesterol levels, improve longevity, increase bone mass, and improve mental acuity of those who run on a regular basis.  To get the most benefit from running, one must maintain a regular heartbeat within a specific range, and maintain it for a period of time.

Many beginners are put off due to preconceived notions about having to run fast or cover a lot of distance.  Really, the first step is to get used to moving your feet, even if it’s walking or alternated run/walks, for 30 minutes, and then, as you increase your running time, get your heart rate up by maintaining your speed for longer periods of time.

To properly manage your heart rate, you will need a heart rate monitor, which include a strap that goes around your chest and a watch.  Garmin makes the FR-70, a decent, cheap time keeper with heart rate monitor for US $130 list price.

Many ultramarathon runners take a similar approach to the Running for Beginners program when preparing for their long races.  Elite ultramarathoner Glen Redpath employs very long walks on hiking trails as part of his training regimen as an interesting, fun way to be active and on his feet all day.  During training and even on their race day, many long distance runners will alternate between a few minutes of running and a minute of walking, to help manage their energy and save their muscles for what could be a very long race.  Running beginners can use these same approaches for their training, even though the time on their feet will be 30 minutes instead of several hours.

Follow this link to find out more about Salty Running’s program to progress to 30 minutes of running in 8 weeks.

(Photo credit: migroveruk)

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