If you've been spending too much time on the couch, the most important thing is just to start moving every day doing something you like.  

Even something as simple as fast walking is awesome because it's easy on your body, everyone likes to walk, and you don't need any equipment.  If it sounds better, call it urban hiking, fitness marching, or horizontal tower training instead. 


How fast should you go?  Fast enough to noticeably increase your heart rate yet not so fast that you can't carry on a conversation.  If you did this every day for 30-60 minutes, you'd be fitter than about 90 percent of the country.  

What should you do if you're tired?  Walk a little slower or for just 30 minutes.  If you feel good, walk faster or go for an hour or more.

When you feel ready to do more, once or twice week, add some sort of stair climbing. That can be on the stairs at work, a stair climbing machine at the gym, or a steep hill near your home.  This will prepare your muscles for the Dallas Vert Mile.  

It doesn't matter if the stairs are long or short.  You can get in a great workout using just the stairs in your house.  When you feel like going fast, do it.  When your body feels tired, go at a slower, more comfortable pace.  

Would you like more variety?  Mix in any other form of exercise that gets your heart rate up. Ride a bike, hop on a cardio machine at the gym, take a fitness class, jump up and down on a trampoline, or just do some old fashioned work such as tiling your garden by hand.  

Climbing steps will make your legs strong, but if you want to add some additional strength training, you might want to circuit train - where you go immediately from one exercise to another with no rest in between to keep your heart rate up - you can get all the benefits to your heart and lungs of a cardio workout while your muscles get stronger too.    

The exercise that probably best simulates tower running is walking lunges.  You can just use your body weight for resistance and go until you're tired.  

So are you ready for a recap?  

1. Start just by walking fast or doing anything else you enjoy that gets your heart rate up.  

Then, when you're ready...

2. Add some vertical training on hills, a stair climbing machine, or steps, once or twice a week.     

3. If you want, add some additional strength training once or twice a week.  


That's it!  Have fun!    

Photo by Paul Sampson

Training Plan - From the Couch to the Dallas Vert Mile 

Paul Sampson is the founder and event director of the Dallas Vert Mile; a certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist with the National Academy of Sports Medicine; and a behavior change specalist with the American Council on Exercise.