How to make a smooth transition from walker to runner

If you are new to running or have been a walker for a while and have decided you might like to step things up a bit, take on board the following recommendations from Vlad Shatrov, Runlab Founder and Trainer to help make the transition as smooth as possible.

“Running causes more stress on the body than walking so my advice to anyone stepping up their training is to take a little more care of your body. It is important to form good habits if you want to enjoy being a runner” said Vlad.

Your essential running tips from Vlad

  • Invest in shoes made specifically for running. The impact on your body when you run is far greater than walking. Whilst you are walking, most exercise shoes will be sufficient but with the extra shock being absorbed by your body when running it is recommended that you go to a good sports store and get fitted for a pair of running shoes that suit both your running load and foot type.
  • Transition gradually from walking to running. Don’t suddenly decide that you are going to try and run 5kms flat out! Start out alternating between running and walking, gradually increasing the amount you run and decreasing the amount you walk until you feel comfortable running the whole way.
  • Try and run on softer surfaces such as gravel or grass rather than concrete. If you are running on the pavement – try and run on the grass verge rather than the concrete path – it will reduce the impact on your body and help to prevent injuries.
  • Avoid injury. The best runners are those that don’t get regularly injured. They don’t just run, they invest time in strengthening their body and practising running drills. You wouldn’t expect to be able to play tennis without some instruction along the way – whilst running is more accessible you will benefit from taking some time to work on your technique and strength. There are plenty of ideas on the internet, with a little bit of research you can find the information you need. Strength training will also help prevent injury and support your body to become a better runner, just make sure it is functional and the exercises are specifically designed to improve running efficiency.
  • Rest. Ensure that you have two complete rest days each week, this will aid in building your running gradually and allow your body to become used to the activity. Your body needs time to recover and rebuild muscle – without a chance to recover, your body will tire and be more prone to injury.
  • Heal your muscles. Here’s the best part – invest in regular massages! Many injuries are caused by weaknesses or tightness building up over time. With regular massages you can identify areas of concern and hopefully prevent the area from breaking down further and leading to an injury.

Running is fantastic exercise and accessible to everyone. With a little bit of planning and self-help you can go from being a walker to a runner smoothly with minimal impact on your body, allowing you to enjoy a long running career.