Viktor E. Frankl
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.-Viktor E. Frankl

Walk or Run Outside Practice

Run or Walk, see the world around you...Screen shot 2011-06-03 at 6.26.20 PM

Get up and go for a quick walk around the block, right now!

If you followed the instructions above then you just started this practice. That's all it takes, just start walking and then increase intensity with each session. The information presented here is intended to assist you not define your practice. Running isn't for everyone, but it's one of the best exercises you can do for your heart, your body and to burn extra calories. It's also one of the more accessible activities - all you really need is a good pair of shoes and a place to fancy equipment or special skills.

Of course, it isn't always easy to start a running program. It takes time to build up the endurance to run for even a short period of time, even if you've been walking, cycling or doing other activities. Just don't give up, there's a way to become a runner without killing yourself if you're patient and follow these easy steps.

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You can expect: increased energy

Level of Effort: Easy to Difficult - you make the choice

Time Involved: 30 minutes (or more)


Getting Started:

  1. Determine the length and intensity of your treadmill sessions
  2. Understand how to vary the intensity of each workout to add variety to your practice
  3. Determine frequency of practice and schedule your workout
  4. Warm up and Cool down with each workout
  5. Write in your activity journal


What to Consider:


1. Determine the length and intensity of your treadmill sessions

Length of workout

The length of your workout is up to you but the National Institutes of Health recommend at least 30 minutes of cardio, 5 times a week. Depending on the number of activities you build into your overall daily body practice and your intensity for each session you can decide how long to make your workout.

  • Workout Duration. Determining how long you should workout per week and per session can be done in many ways. Use the button below for some suggestions:

Workout Duration

  • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) You can also calculate the number of calories your body actually needs in order to function. If you understand the amount of calories your body needs to function then you can determine how many calories are needed to maintain your current weight and then how many to lose weight. There is a right number of calories for you to eat each day. This number depends on your age, activity level, and whether you're trying to lose, maintain or even gain weight. Knowing your BMR can also help you think about how much exercise you are willing to do.

Calculate Your BMR



Figure out how to monitor your intensity while walking or running based on your speed and the terrain you are on. Your goal is to find a pace that challenges you, gets you out of breath, and makes you sweat. Aim for medium to high intensity. Monitor your exercise intensity by knowing your target heart rate and interpreting your perceived exertion.

Exercise Intensity


2. Understand how to vary the intensity of each workout add variety to your practice



Vary the intensity of a workout with speed (pace) based on the difficulty of the path you're on. You can walk, jog or run in your workout but more than likely you will do all three in a session. The important thing to remember is to keep challenging yourself. If you are new to running, start slow with walking and build up to a jog, and then start to add bursts of running.


Workout Examples & Tips:

  1. When walking aim for a speed fast enough to reach your intensity goals.
  2. However, when first starting out you can focus on time not intensity in order to get comfortable.
  3. Keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle (not at your side) and take quick steps.
  4. Each week, increase the amount of time and intensity of your walking.


Walk/Run Intervals

An interval workout includes speed changes throughout the workout to help you burn more calories, build endurance and, even better, keep you from getting bored. The idea is to get your heart rate up during the intensity changes and then hold a steady state for about 5 minutes. The interval you choose is one that will bring you to a high level of exertion, then a recovery interval to catch your breath. How you do this will depend on the terrain you are traveling, but essentially you will vary your walking and running pace depending on the incline of the terrain.

Basic Walk/Run Workout - Try a run/walk approach, where you run for a certain period of time or distance, and then walk for a different interval. Most runners start out using a run/walk technique because they don't have the endurance or fitness to run for extended periods of time. Here's how to do the run/walk method:

  1. After you've warmed-up with a 5-minute walk, run for a short segment and then take a walk break.
  2. Beginners can alternate very short run segments with short walks, such as 1 minute running, 7 minutes walking.
  3. Keep repeating your run/walk pattern until you've covered your goal distance or time. For example, if you want to run/walk for 24 minutes, you can run/walk at a 1:7 ratio for three cycles.
  4. You should start your walk portion before your running muscles get too tired. This will allow your muscles to recover instantly, which extends the time and distance that you can cover. If you wait until you're very fatigued, you'll end up walking slowly and it will be difficult to start running again.
  5. For the walk portions, make sure you're not taking a leisurely stroll. You should pump your arms and make sure your heart rate stays elevated. This will ensure you are still getting a good cardiovascular workout and it will make the transition back to running easier.
  6. Each week, begin to reverse the ratio of running and walking by one minute. Run for 2 minutes and walk for 6 minutes, and continue this pattern every week until you are running at an easy pace for 7 minutes and walking for 1 minute, finally running continuously at an easy pace for 24 minutes.
  7. Then you can begin to increase the intensity of your running and add back walking to create intervals.
  8. Use your breathing as your guide during your running segments. You should be able to carry on a conversation while running and your breathing shouldn't be heavy.
  9. Once you can successfully run for long stretches, don't feel as if you have to abandon the run/walk method. Some long-distance runners use it in training runs and races to help reduce muscle soreness and fatigue.


  • Twice a week alternate doing all out sprints with easy-pace recovery periods. Aim for 8-10 intervals.
  • Hills: Once or twice a week, crank up the incline/resistance and power up and down a few 4-6 minute hills.
  • Distance: At least once a week carve out 45 minutes to and hour for a challenging session.


3. Determine frequency of practice and schedule your workout


Based on the length of your session, intensity and other workouts you are doing you can determine how often you want to perform your outside practice.


Schedule it

Now that the elements are determined, schedule your workout. If you set aside the days and times you will perform your practice you are more likely to stick to it. Remember the idea is to make it a habit, so schedule at least 4 sessions and don't miss or change them and you are on your way.


4. Warm up and Cool down with each workout


5. Write in your activity journal

Track your activity, duration, intensity and how you felt before and after the activity. Learn More...


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Basic Forms of Running/Walking

There are three basic forms of running (walking) focused on for this practice

Casual Workout - Done for the physical, social, and mental benefits of walking/running. You don't need any equipment, it's relatively inexpensive, and can be done almost anywhere, making it a very accessible form of exercise.

Racing - Some runners enjoy the thrill and competition of participating in road races, from 5Ks to half and full marathons. The vast majority of people enter races not to win (or even come close), but to set a personal goal and achieve it. Many former couch potatoes have become hooked on the sport after training for their first road race.

Trail Running - For those who love to enjoy scenery and peaceful surroundings while exercising, trail running is a fantastic option. Trail running usually takes place on hiking trails of varying terrain, from deserts to mountains. Trail runners may find themselves sidestepping roots, scrambling up rocks, running through streams, or traversing up steep hills. For the trail runner who loves to compete, trail races take place throughout the country.


Benefits of Walking & Running

Benefits of Walking:
  • Walking helps you increase your muscle endurance without putting as much stress on your joints and muscles as running does.
  • Your heart rate is lower when you're walking, which means your body will use fat for energy rather than mostly fast-burning carbs.
  • Walking during a long run gives your muscles and joints a chance to rest and recover, which can help you complete your planned distance and also help prevent injuries.
  • Taking a walking break can really break up the monotony during a long run, which can help you deal with the mental challenges and any discomfort you may be feeling.


Benefits of Running:
  • Studies have shown the health benefits of running to be tremendous, reducing your chances of everything from the common cold to cancer. Running is among the best aerobic exercises for physical conditioning of your heart and lungs. It helps ensure the efficient flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body, things that are proven to help to decrease the risk of a heart attack.
  • Running is a great stress-reliever and may even relieve mild depression.
  • Many runners enjoy reaching the "runner's high" - that euphoric, clear, and calm state they feel after a long run.
  • As a runner, you'll likely feel more energetic and creative.
  • Running helps you improve your fitness and stamina. As a weight-bearing exercise, running also increases bone density, which can fend off osteoporosis.
  • Running is an extremely efficient way to burn calories and drop pounds. Running burns about 100 calories per mile for a 150-pound person. Because running also builds muscle mass, your resting metabolism will increase.


Tips for running or walking outside

Use good form: Regardless of the elements decided above it is important that you use proper form when walking or running. It will ensure that you are actually getting the full benefits of the exercise and it will keep your body injury free. Below are a few tips for proper form:

  • Keep your head up, looking in the same direction you're running (not down at your feet). Look forward in front of you approximately 10-20 meters.
  • Keep your posture straight and erect. Your head should be up, your back straight, and shoulders level. Keep your shoulders low (to prevent tightness), back (not hunched forward), and relaxed (to open the chest area to facilitate breathing).
  • Keep your posture tall and upright with a slight forward lean coming from the ankles, not your hips.
  • Your arms should be at a 90-degree angle and positioned to lightly brush your hip. Relax your hands and keep them at your waist.  Keep your wrists relaxed. Your hands should be in a loose fist (as if you're holding an egg and don't want to break it.)
  • Your arms should swing back and forth from your shoulder joint, not your elbow joint.
  • Your arms should never cross the center of chest area. If your arms cross over your chest, you're more likely to slouch, which means you're not breathing efficiently.
  • Keep your stride quick and short to help minimize the impact transferred to your legs.
  • Don't be a toe runner or a heel-striker. Try to maintain a mid-foot strike to make sure you're not heel striking and sending shock to your knees. If you land on your toes, your calves will get tight or fatigue quickly and you may develop shin pain. Landing on your heels means you have over-strided and you're braking, which wastes energy and may cause injury. Try to land on the middle of your foot, and then roll through to the front of your toes.


Drink water at the end of your workouts to rehydrate. If it's hot and humid, you should also drink some water (about 4-6 ounces) halfway through your workout.


Use Caution. When walking or running outside, try to find roads made of dirt or asphalt rather than concrete, which is hard on the body. Remember to wear reflective clothing when running at night and to run towards traffic.


Additional Resources and Articles

  • Log Your Run Smartphone application: Records your runs with GPS and the site is packed with useful running info: