Small steps. Big impact.


30 Days to Summer Fit, Day 2: Take Five


We’ll be posting a new challenge every day leading up to summer! Follow along here on the blog, or using this calendar.

30 Days to Summer Fit

People seem to fall into one of two categories: those who enjoy running, and those who don’t. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: you don’t have to love running to become a runner. Crazy, right?

So today’s challenge is simple: go for a run.

Pro tips for new runners

For some of you, this will be easy. For the rest of you, we turned to Ultramarathon Man Dean Karnazes for tips on how to get started.

Five minutes flies by when you’re doing something enjoyable; five minutes seems like an eternity when you’re doing something painful. But those five minutes could be the best investment of your life.

 My advice to someone just getting started is to run for time, not distance. You won’t need any fancy GPS watches and you won’t need to measure your route, all you’ll need is a simple wristwatch or a stopwatch (wearing a Fitbit can also be useful if you want to quantify how many steps you took).

Try to run continuously for five minutes. Use any course you’d like, around your neighborhood or around a park. Just set your watch and go for five.

The biggest mistake I see in people newly starting out is that they take off too quickly. Remember, this is not a sprint; this is an exercise to remain in continual forward motion until the target time-goal has been reached. Even a highly trained athlete would find it challenging to sprint full speed for five continuous minutes. That is not the objective here. The purpose is to train yourself to regulate your pace to remain in nonstop motion until the requisite time you’ve established for yourself has been achieved.

Once you’re able to run or jog continuously for 5-minutes, try increasing the duration for an additional 5-minutes every other week, ultimately working toward being able sustain uninterrupted forward momentum for 30-minutes. Again, the goal is to self-regulate your pace to complete the target time without stopping. Measuring your steps can be a self-affirming way to track your progress.

During the progression upward from 5-minutes, learn to push your pace as fast as you can so that you arrive completely spent, while still being able to reach this requisite time goal without having to stop and catch your breath along the way.

This approach teaches you discipline and helps build confidence as you strive to accomplish progressively longer goals.

And it all starts with a simple 5-minute investment.

Happy stepping, everyone! And let us know how you did in the comments, or by using #30DaysToSummerFit.

43 Responses leave one →
  1. Maggie permalink
    May 23, 2014

    Running…sorry, that’s not something I have ever been able to wrap my brain…or knees…around. Even in the Air Force, I chose walking (fast) rather than running. So I will power walk. I usually walk 5K twice or 3 times a week. So, I’ll get my shoes on and my water…and off I go! TTFN!

    • Linda permalink
      May 23, 2014

      Same here. Basic training is the last time I ran more than a few minutes at a time. But even now, when I sign up for races, the time limit has to be enough to allow for a walker. I’d like to run, but I need to lear how to tape my knees first. Until then, my next race is a half marathon in Chicago with plenty of time to finish at a brisk walk!

  2. May 23, 2014

    Good advice! I know a lot of people give up when they’re not able to complete a mile. The “just 5 minutes” mindset seems like a great way to get into running.

  3. dara permalink
    May 23, 2014

    Since losing over 80lbs, I have begun to run. It’s a terrific way to burn calories and to “get out of your head.” It’s like exercising and meditating in one, and I never though I’d be able to do it!

  4. brittney permalink
    May 23, 2014

    I have always HATED running. But it slowly became the only option for excercise that fit my budget and schedule. I got the Zombies Run 5k app and slowly worked from running for just 30 seconds at a time (which was difficult for me!) to eventually running 5K in about 45 minutes without stopping just a couple weeks ago. The 8 week program took me almost a year to complete. Going back to work after having a baby will put a stop on lots of plans…

    I never thought I would be a “runner”. I mean I seriously hated running… I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that I really…love…running… weird.

    • Denise permalink
      June 10, 2014

      I love the zombies run app. Started with the couch to 5k version and have progressed to buying the season pass. Defeating myself at running is all in my head and this game helps distract me! I haven’t been as successful at running continuous minutes, but I’m getting out there and can do a longer duration Openning stretch!

  5. Cela permalink
    May 23, 2014

    funny… i didn’t run for like a month and today finally went again. just came back and then had a thought: wonder what’s today’s challenge? so i come here and see: “go for a run” 😀 DONE! oh and btw, 5 months ago I was saying I would NEVER EVER run and wasn’t able to run for longer than 1 minute. Now I do 6km :) I highly recommend C25K app!

  6. Stephanie permalink
    May 23, 2014

    Whelp… Gave it my best shot at running and all I could do was 2 and a half minutes. I’m sure I will progress to 5 minutes soon. Will try again tomorrow.

    • lking permalink*
      May 23, 2014

      Still, congratulations on even trying! As they say, you went further than everyone on the couch.

      • Stephanie permalink
        May 23, 2014

        Thanks for the encouragement!

  7. Cheryl permalink
    May 23, 2014

    Committed to this challenge but running is a no go…with two knee replacements…but upped my speed walking…still got a good sweat going and heart rate up. This was after a leg workout on the machines. Now for some Leslie Sansone walking dad’s…legs will be ready for a rest soon :-)

    • Brenda permalink
      May 23, 2014

      I’d love to run but my doctor’s and physical therapists say that’s a no-go with all my knee surgeries. I walk briskly and that seems to do the trick! I’d like to run but it’s just too painful. :(

      • Cheryl permalink
        May 23, 2014

        Let’s just keep walking briskly…we’ll still burn calories and keep our knees happy :-)

  8. Anonymous permalink
    May 23, 2014

    I hate running and have never been able to sustain any kind of endurance, BUT…’s a whole new world since having a heart attack last November. I am open to new adventures and am willing to at least try. I have already put in 3.5 miles power-walking today and promise that I will try this 5 minute run when I get home tonight. Will report later!

  9. Lisa permalink
    May 23, 2014

    I finished up a 10 week Couch to 5k program 3 weeks ago. I’m still running. I usually just decide the basic route I’m going to take and get out there. If I want to change my route, I just do. I like to see how many miles I’m getting in the time I run.

  10. May 23, 2014

    I did a 20 minute run followed by a 10 minute walk cool down…wow, that was a great workout!!!

  11. May 23, 2014

    great advice and b’cause I cannot run, I walked it out…feelin good with water by my side

  12. Linda permalink
    May 23, 2014

    Nope don’t like running never have never will not even for 5 minute increments! My hubby runs tried many time to start just don’t like it. So i took and nice 30 min fast paced walk instead! Just do something!

  13. Charlotte permalink
    May 23, 2014

    I am not able to run with bad knees, got runners knees from work and not from running. Lol. Just now able to walk long distant with out a lot of pain

  14. Bev permalink
    May 23, 2014

    SOrry like was said above I Hve 2 knee replacements and a hip, was told by the surgeon to never run. Otherwise I would love it if I could.

  15. Anonymous permalink
    May 23, 2014

    Not everyone can run on concrete, or even on a treadmill, but those of us lucky enough to have access to a pool can run in the water. You use all the same muscles as a runner, but with very little impact on your joints. I’d love to swim laps for an hour, but the bone spurs in my shoulders won’t let me, so I swim a lap and then I run a lap, bringing my knees up high to my chest. I don’t have whatever it is that makes a Fitbit waterproof, so I just enter my time under “Activities”. You must start slow on swimming, like 20 minutes, and work up to an hour over the course of a month.
    My other favorite form of exercise is to “dance” in place while doing the dishes or making my protein shake. I always have time to myself in the evenings, so I plug in my headphones, play all of my favorite fast songs, I never miss getting in my 12,600 steps, which gives me five miles travelled. And I’ve used my Fitbit app to help me set goals and keep an eye on my calorie intake. Guaranties that I lose a lb. a week and sometimes two, if I’m good on the weekends. Love my fitbit!!

  16. Brab permalink
    May 23, 2014

    Music is my running motivation! 2 of your favorite songs will get you over 5 minutes!

  17. Anonymous permalink
    May 23, 2014

    The weather ruined my chance to run how I would have liked so I took a 10 minute run through the downstairs of my house! Felt pretty good (although cramped lol)

  18. Patrick permalink
    May 23, 2014

    Took a run through the downstairs today since the weather didn’t want to cooperate for me. A bit cramped, but glad I did it!

  19. Tshidi permalink
    May 24, 2014

    I’l try it but it’s hard 4 me to run.

  20. Liz permalink
    May 24, 2014

    I wish that I could run! I have bad knees, and the stress from the impact would make my life miserable. :( But I’ll do my best to speed walk today! Thanks for the tips. Love it!

  21. Gennifer permalink
    May 24, 2014

    I never thought I could be a runner. I started doing it on the treadmill. I really like it. I am up to 15 min.

  22. Maureen permalink
    May 24, 2014

    My back is a little sensitive to running, however I will go with a 3 minute challenge try.

  23. May 24, 2014

    I run 3 times a week and I love it!

  24. Charlotte permalink
    May 24, 2014

    Sorry, running is not for me. I’m short, have short legs and I’m busty. I don’t think Dolly Parton is much of a runner either. Some people just aren’t cut out for it, and if you hate it, you’re not going to do it. Plus, I have osteoarthritis in both knees and a) I couldn’t run if I tried and b) my orthopedic surgeon does not approve it. I won’t be doing Day #2.

  25. May 24, 2014

    Completed Day 2’s challenge one day late with a 3 mile jog in my favorite park!

  26. MVC permalink
    May 24, 2014

    Thanks for the motivation. Jogged 5 min x2 after not jogging for the last 1.5 years. This challenge/motivation was exactly what I needed to get going again. 5 minutes is a great start. Hope I can keep it up.

  27. Bill permalink
    May 27, 2014

    Being that I’ve never run before, I thought I would give it a try to burn some extra calories. I think 5 minutes is a long time for a novice, I read elsewhere 4 minutes walking and then 1 minute running to help build up all the associated muscles. over a couple weeks build up to 5 minutes continues. Seems like a smarter way to get started.

    • Jessica O permalink
      July 16, 2014

      Great plan! 5 minutes straight out the gate is way too lofty a goal for most…including myself!! Keep at it! :-)

  28. anonymous permalink
    June 2, 2014

    I think starting with 5 minutes is a good idea. I have never gone more than 2 miles without stopping- will try to run 3 sometime. Keep it up everyone!

  29. Heather B. permalink
    June 3, 2014

    I tried this but I have no stamina whatsoever, so I kept having to take breaks for every little way I went. I managed to complete a 5-minute run in 9 minutes!!!!

    • Jessica O permalink
      July 16, 2014

      That is great! So much more realistic for a beginner… keep it up! :-)

  30. Merissa permalink
    June 3, 2014

    This spring I started a couch to 5k program and that’s helped me with my running! I’m not that great but I can run continuously for 4 minutes. And still progressing!! The c25k Facebook group I’m in is actually why I bought a fitbit.

  31. Jessica O permalink
    July 16, 2014

    Starting out at 5 straight minutes is a pretty tough recommendation for beginners in my opinion. Even the Couch 2 5K programs have you starting with intervals of 1 minute jog/1.5mins walking….Please if anyone is reading this and tries for 5 straight minutes and can’t make it…DONT THINK YOU HAVE FAILED…this advice is not the word of god LOL

  32. Jim permalink
    November 10, 2014

    Sorry…wrong email in my first note

    I just loaded the updated app on my Samsung phone and now can’t seem to add an activity…when I used to be able to easily. I also want to be able to go back and add activity from previous days…no idea how. The new app has a ‘track your exercise’ section but it doesn’t let me track/record anything! I have a flex.

    Help please.



  33. anonymous permalink
    January 16, 2015

    i have the apple version but i’m assuming that they are the same. on your dashboard go into track exercise. click on the stopwatch symbol in the top right-hand corner. at the top in the middle it says track or log, click on log. click on the search bar and type in the activity. click on the activity. it will come up with information including start and finish times, duration, distance, pace and calories burned. click on each of these and edit the information. once you have finished click add in the top right corner. it has now logged your exercise. i hope this works :)

  34. beth permalink
    March 20, 2015

    I agree Bill..great suggestion!!!!

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