How do I get started using a treadmill?
April 9, 2008 8:50 AM   Subscribe

How do I get started using a treadmill?

I just bought a treadmill from a co-worker. I am 33 years old, overweight by about 30 lbs., and type-2 diabetic. I know I need to get in shape for many reasons. Please no judgments about why it took so long.

Is there anywhere online with a good resource for beginners? Ideally, I'm looking for a resource online where I can keep a log or record of my progress.

But most importantly of all, I don't know where/how to begin. Almost everything I've seen so far is geared toward experienced runners. I'm nowhere even close to that. I would like to follow something like this:

* Day 1, walk 15 minutes at 3MPH
* Day 2, walk 15 minutes, jog 5 minutes
* Day 3, walk 10 minutes, jog 10 minutes

And so on and so forth.

So I'm really looking for two things:

1. A guide to getting started with a program that details what I need to do

2. An online tracker
posted by zooropa to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
The schedule you listed would be a pretty quick start. Look at Couch to 5k to see an example of a two-month beginner's plan.
posted by stopgap at 9:00 AM on April 9, 2008

Couch to 5K. Your example is too much, too fast.

Have you been walking regularly? If not, why not start out walking 30 minutes, 4 - 7 days a week, for several weeks before trying running?
posted by peep at 9:00 AM on April 9, 2008

posted by peep at 9:01 AM on April 9, 2008

Here are a few resources for you: interval workouts that you can adjust to your own fitness level (you can also sign up for a paid service through Momentum Fitness that offers online tracking), Jeff Galloway's beginner run/walk tips (former US Olympian marathoner), CoolRunning's Couch-to-5K plan, and Leo's ZenHabits beginner running plan.

Your proposed plan is very optimistic. It is far better to start out too slow than to go all-out too fast and injure yourself (I say this because it happens to me regularly). Galloway's run/walk plan never goes beyond 4 minutes of running to 35 seconds of walking for someone who wants to finish a marathon with 8 minute miles (i.e. someone very fit and experienced). Working out with a heart rate monitor has really helped me get out of my own way with rigid schedules, forcing me to stay in touch with my actual fitness rather than my perceived "should be able to" capabilities.

I know there's a MeFite running group but am not sure if there's online tracking involved.

Drop me a note if you'd like an accountability buddy - I am slowly trying to regroove the workout habit and am in much the same place as you, but with more to lose.
posted by catlet at 9:07 AM on April 9, 2008

I love, love, love and adore the couch to 5k program. You can do it at your own speed (literally) so don't go too fast. It really works, and by the end you will be able to jog 30 minutes straight. I like watching "The Biggest Loser" while working out because it's fun, fluffy, and focused on exercise.
posted by bonheur at 9:12 AM on April 9, 2008

n*thing couch to 5k...and thumbs-upping the couch-to-5K podcast. I am about to start it again (on the road) now that it's warmed up.
posted by foxydot at 9:22 AM on April 9, 2008

Nthing Couch to 5K. You can download podcasts for each week of the program here. They are motivating, good music, plus you don't have to keep checking your watch for timing yourself. I'm in the middle of the program and loving it.
posted by meerkatty at 9:23 AM on April 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

know there's a MeFite running group but am not sure if there's online tracking involved.

Indeed there is: MetaFilter Group at Runner's Plus. Don't be discouraged at the high number of miles some people have racked up...its very clear they are training for marathons. Just take comfort in there being a place to record your mileage and time and make it a ritual.
posted by mmascolino at 9:31 AM on April 9, 2008 is a more comprehensive online tracker, if that kind of thing is more your style. You can input diet, activity, weight gains/loss, etc.
posted by crunch buttsteak at 9:37 AM on April 9, 2008

Dittoing that you ramp up slowly, and emphatically dittoing that you use Runner+ to track your mileage. If you have an iPod Nano or would like to buy one, There's a Nike pedometer kit that you can buy for it that's awesome, and no, you don't have to buy the Nike shoes.

I can't stress enough, however, that you go to a running store and have your feet measured and gait analyzed so you can get a good shoe recommendation. The wrong type of shoe can really fuck you up.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:25 AM on April 9, 2008

I followed the Couch to 5k thing pretty closely a few years ago, and it rocks. Highly recommend.
posted by everichon at 10:47 AM on April 9, 2008

Awesome! Good luck!

Throw some pushups and pullups in there too, to add some variety to your workout and build up general strength in addition to cardiovascular fitness.
posted by tiburon at 11:31 AM on April 9, 2008

Also just for the hell if it I'll recommend fit day as a great way to track your food and exercise if you decide not to try the couch-to-5k system.

I also have a treadmill and on the days when I'm tired, sick or have hurt a foot/knee, I walk at 3 MPH and angle the treadmill up to about a 5 incline. You burn more calories than you would walking flat and it's great for your butt and legs.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:53 AM on April 9, 2008


You guys are all amazing! Thanks for the wonderful tips. I will have to check out Couch to 5K and Fit Day ASAP.

RE: shoes
Yup, I totally agree. In fact, I went out and did something new (for me) last month. I went to the local runner's shoe store, had them watch me walk, and was fitted with a new pair of New Balances. Waaaay more than I'd ever spend on my own, but I figured that I was going to start doing this, so it's an investment.
posted by zooropa at 12:24 PM on April 9, 2008

Couch to 5k is great! I was well into it before some knee pain which I'd had in the past came back to haunt me and I went back to walking. Before I stopped it, I was running further and longer than I had ever done, and it felt great. My main problem was running on concrete, a treadmill will be much more gentle on your legs.
posted by tomble at 3:36 AM on April 10, 2008

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