When you're not a runner, managing to make it any distance beyond your backyard may seem like a serious feat. Let's break it down, though: a 3,000-meter run might seem daunting, but in reality it's less than 2 miles -- and you might already be walking about that much during your normal daily activities. It's a nice round number, but not a common distance for races or even military training tests. For high school, a common racing distance is 3,200 meters, or exactly 2 miles. Same goes for the U.S. Army's training test, which is also 2 miles. Whatever your reason for completing this run, your best bet is to start slowly and gain confidence as you go along.
Find a running track in your area or download a GPS-based run-tracking app for your smartphone, so you'll be able to track the exact distances you're running. There are dozens of apps out there, but popular ones include RunKeeper, iMapMyRun or Fitnio. You can also measure a distance on a map website or by driving the distance you want to run and using your odometer for the mileage. Another option is to use a treadmill that tracks time and distance.
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Warm up before every session by walking for about five minutes. It's also good to do some dynamic stretches such as arm circles or leg kicks.
Complete a 2-mile course for the first two weeks, mixing running and walking. Try to run as much as you can, but walk when you get tired. If you're using a track, you might set a goal to run one lap and walk the next one until you've completed the eight laps that make 2 miles. If you're running on the street or on a treadmill, you might aim to run for one minute and then walk for one minute to complete the entire distance. Do this three or four times a week.
Increase the amount of time you're running and decrease the amount of time you're walking every time you go out. Running is a mental game, and every small step of improvement can help you build confidence. If you were running for one minute and walking for one minute, try to run for 70 seconds and then walk for 50, for example. At the end of the first two weeks, you want to be running for at least 75 percent of the time.
Complete a full 2-mile jog during the third week and time yourself. This is your current 2-mile pace, which you'll use later on for more advanced training. If your only goal is to simply complete a 2-mile run, congratulations! You've done it. If your goal is to get faster or to complete a race, move on to more advanced training.
Begin your more advanced training by jogging at a moderate pace two or three days a week and looking for ways to add a little bit more intensity, such as jogging part of the distance uphill -- or adjusting the incline on your treadmill -- or speeding up to try to beat your previous times.
Reserve two days a week for interval runs. Set a goal for how fast you want to complete your 2-mile run and then break that number into four parts to determine how fast you'll need to run half of a mile during your interval runs, as recommended by Military Fitness trainer Stew Smith. For example, say you want to run the 2 miles in 16 minutes. By dividing that time by four, you see that you need to run each 1/2 mile in four minutes. After a short warm-up, set a timer and aim to run 1/2 mile in four minutes. Push yourself as much as you can. At the end of the 1/2 mile, note your time and walk 1/4 mile to recover. Then repeat the 1/2 mile "race" to try again to beat your time. Do this four times total. Continue doing these interval runs two days a week until you're making your time goal or it's nearing your race day.
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If you're currently sedentary, this schedule may be too rigorous. If the first run-walking stage is really difficult for you, take it even slower and start off with an easier goal. Try run-walking 1 mile for two weeks and then adding 1/2 mile for another two weeks, until you finally arrive at the 2-mile run and walk.
Running is an challenging form of exercise so it's important to talk to your doctor before starting a new routine. This is especially crucial for men over 45, women over 55 or people who have heart conditions or other forms of chronic disease.