I AM planning to do a 5km charity walk in Windsor. However, I would really like to be able to jog or run but I haven't run since Ileft school and I wonder if you have any advice for me.

IT IS nice to hear you are getting motivated to get involved in charity in such a positive way. You will be helping others as well as helping yourself get fit. Although training is not rocket science it can be trickier than you think, so why not try:

Mixing running and walking

Few people can run a full mile the first time out the door, so don't even try. You'll get discouraged and quit. Instead, mix running and walking.

Run for 30 seconds, walk for 90 seconds and repeat this nine more times for a total of 20 minutes. When you can comfortably run and walk for 20 minutes, four times a week with this 30/90 second pattern, change your run/walk ratio to 45/75 seconds and repeat the four-times-a-week pattern.

Next comes 60/60, then 75/45 seconds then 90/30. Eventually you'll be running for several minutes at a time

between walking breaks, and then you'll be able to run for 20 minutes without stopping.

Take the 'talk test'

Always run at a relaxed and comfortable pace. To check your effort level, start a conversation with your training partner.

You should be able to speak without gasping or feeling out of breath. If you can't, then slow down.

Go farther, not harder

Once you reach the magic 20-minute mark, build up to 30 minutes (then 40, 50 and 60). Don't make the mistake of trying to get faster - don't try to run your 20-minute course in 19 minutes. Increasing endurance is your first priority.

Be a tortoise, not a hare

Running works just like the tortoise and hare race. It rewards the patient (with weight loss, steady progress, less stress, more energy and a host of health benefits) and penalises the over-eager (with injuries and burnout). This isn't a sport for sprinters.

How to run for 30 minutes

Whatever your level of fitness you should comfortably be able to build from nothing to running continuously for 30 minutes in the space of eight weeks. All you need to do is make a commitment to run at least three times a week and follow this simple run/walk programme which will gradually ease you towards the goal.

Week 1 Run one min, walk 90 seconds. Repeat eight times. Do three times a week.

Week 2 Run two mins, walk one min. Repeat seven times. Do three times a week.

Week 3 Run three mins, walk one mins. Repeat six times. Do three times a week.

Week 4 Run five mins, walk two mins. Repeat four times. Do three times a week.

Week 5 Run eight mins, walk two mins. Repeat three times. Do three times a week.

Week 6 Run 12 mins, walk one min. Repeat three times. Do three times a week.

Week 7 Run 15 mins, walk one min, Run 15 mins. Do three times a week.

Week 8 Run 30 mins continuously.

After each session walk for five minutes to cool down and gently stretch for another five minutes.

You should always wear the right clothing, and the correct shoes are so important - and ladies should wear a comfortable support bra.

Good luck to you and your charity. [25cf] Please send your questions to adminpanther@hotmail.com.