If Running Feels Too Hard, Try This

Practice ChiRunning Technique

When you're ready to move into a jog:

  • Check in with your posture to make sure you're aligned well.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed and low.
  • Lean forward slightly from the ankles and lead with your upper body. Keep your core engaged so you don't bend at the waist.
  • Begin with a slow running pace.
  • Keep your stride short and relax your legs as much as possible.

Always strive to make it easy. Run this way until your breath begins to feel labored (like you can't quite get enough air), then drop back into a brisk walking pace until your breath recovers to an acceptable range.

More: 3 Ways to Start ChiRunning on the Right Foot

Improve Your Aerobic Conditioning

Before you begin running again:

  • Let your breath rate return to almost normal.
  • Don't let your heart rate slow all the way down to normal.
  • Listen to your breath more than your heart (the exception to this would be people with known heart issues).

More: Breathing Tips for New Runners

As you start running again before your heart rate completely recovers, you'll strengthen your heart and improve its ability to pump more oxygenated blood to your legs.

It's important that once you feel your breath almost recovered that you lean forward again and break into a comfortable, easy running pace. Repeat this cycle of running and walking as many times as feels comfortable.

More: How to Breathe Easier During Hard Efforts

Walk Intentionally With Good Technique

When you take a walking break, don't just fall into a stroll. Keep your pace brisk but restful. Train yourself to keep a good momentum, even while you're "resting." This keeps your energy up, makes your walking breaks more effective, and helps you transition back to running with more ease.

Eventually Drop the Walk Breaks

As you become more conditioned, you should notice your running segments gradually getting longer and your walking breaks getting shorter. You'll most likely feel more energized during your workouts as well. As you continue to progress, phase out your walk breaks entirely.

If you prefer to follow a structured program that tells you exactly how long to run and walk, check out the 5K ChiWalk-Run training program. Every workout gives you technique instructions to help you reduce pain and injuries, and make running and walking easier.

If you aren't ready to run, start a fitness walking routine. The ChiWalking app for iPhone is a great tool to help you turn walking into an effective way to get fit. Video lessons, audio reminders and the built-in metronome will help you strengthen your core, walk farther and faster, and burn more calories. Practicing good walking form will also help you become a great runner.

The most important thing to remember is that doing something is always better than doing nothing. Even if you can only run for a few seconds at a time, run for those few seconds and then walk. The seconds will gradually turn into minutes and then grow into miles if you walk-run consistently each week and focus on technique.

More: How to Execute a Run-Walk Program Properly

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