If you hear that a beginning runner should “start off slow” one more time, your head is going to explode!

You know this. You understand that you are a beginning runner, so you will not be qualifying for the Boston Marathon a week after you start running. Since this is common sense, why do you hear it preached over and over again to people who are just beginning a running practice?

The answer is because it is so extremely important.

Almost everyone that attempts any type of physical activity after being sedentary overestimates their abilities. You decide you are going to start running for health reasons, you get mentally charged up, and you can’t wait to begin.

Even though you tell yourself you’re going to start slow, your positive energy and enthusiasm can get you into trouble. Remember, however far or fast you run the very first time out is okay. It took you a while to get your body out of shape, and it is going to take some time to become healthy once again.

You should not feel embarrassed or underwhelmed if you do not run very far when you are first beginning. This isn’t about distance or speed. You are running probably to produce some sort of positive health result. That means that you honor the process, which begins with you running consistently and on a regular schedule, but starting off with shorter distances at first.

This may even include alternating periods of walking and running when you first start out.