FAQ: Getting started

Should I see a doctor first?

See your doctor if any of these apply to you:

  • Your doctor said you have a heart condition and recommended only medically supervised physical activity.
  • During or right after you exercise, you frequently have pains or pressure in the left or mid-chest area, left neck, shoulder or arm.
  • You have developed chest pain within the last month.
  • You tend to lose consciousness or fall over due to dizziness.
  • You feel extremely breathless after mild exertion.
  • Your doctor recommended you take medicine for your blood pressure or a heart condition.
  • Your doctor said you have bone or joint problems that could be made worse by the proposed physical activity.
  • You have a medical condition or other physical reason not mentioned here which might need special attention in an exercise programme (for example, insulin-dependent diabetes).
  • You are middle-aged or older, have not been physically active, and plan a relatively vigorous exercise programme.

If none of these is true for you, you can start a gradual, sensible programme of increased activity tailored to your needs. If you feel any of the physical symptoms listed above when you start your exercise programme, contact your doctor right away. If one or more of the above is true for you, an exercise-stress test may be used to help plan an exercise programme.

How do I put together a training plan?

In order to plan your training programme, you first need to work out your current level of fitness. This will enable to you calibrate your training plan so that you get the most out of it.

Ideally, you need a measure of your VO2 Max. You can use this to figure out how fast you need to run in each training session, using the calculations shown here.

Alternatively, you can use a measure of your maximum heart rate and your resting heart rate, and use those to calculate your heart rate zones and training paces.

How can I predict how fast can I run a race?

You can estimate your race performance from:

Am I fat?

To answer this question accurately, you need to get a proper measurement of your body fat. But you can get a rough idea from your body mass index, which you can calculate here.

How much should I be eating?

That depends on your age, sex, weight, and lifestyle. See the calculator here.

How do I estimate my VO2 max?

See here.

How do I find out my maximum heart rate?

See here.

See also