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I'm new to this all. So here's my story, and please bear with me, because I am very serious and dedicated, and will listen very carefully:

In the 8th grade, I developed a migraine problem, and after being the one of the most athletic girls in my grade, I had to completely stop my athletics.
It is 12th grade now, and the problem has gotten better: I can often exert myself (but not too much) and get away with developing no migraine.

I really want to start running, especially sprinting, but I am incredibly unhealthy... more than anyone I know. My pulse is very high. I have no endurance: I lose my breath very, very quickly. I can barely do one push-up. I am so unhealthy that I get depressed very easily. The only reason, basically, I'm not obese, is because of my metabolism.

I really want to change all of this, and sometimes I dream of being able to run one mile again. Moreover, I made a bet- against someone whom I'd rather not lose my pride- that by the 4th year of Columbia U. (I'll be attending next year) that I'll make their varsity track team. I know it seems like a long shot, but I've made long-shot academic goals in my past and been able to succeed. Plus, if I don't make it, I'll be a much healthier person...

***So, what I need help with is developing an exercise program that I can ease into, for two reasons: 1)so I don't upset my balance too much & develop migraines, and 2)so it won't be as drastic as to make me think I can never be able to do it. Otherwise I am up for anything and I really need suggestions for a long term and short term running plan to change my lifestyle.

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Welcome to the site and here are a few suggestions.

1) Get a physical from your doctor and let him/her know your plan and goal. Your elevated pulse and shortness of breath should be cleared for strenuous exercise before starting.

2) Start a walking program and work it until you can do a couple of brisk miles. By a program I mean keep records of distance and time and calculate your pace. This will help give you a benchmark to gauge progress and will help keep your motivation level high. Your first walk may only be 1/4 of a mile but it's a start. Start off at 4 days a week and build to 5 and then 6.

3) Running is basically a natural progression from walking. Start with a couple of 100 yard jogs interspersed into your daily walk. Build slowly but gradually. On days you feel particularly energetic take advantage of it and pick up the pace or add some extra onto the distance.

4) Talk to the track coach at your school, he or she may offer some good insight also. Also, consider starting a mild weight lifting and exercise program to strengthen your upper body and core muscles. Upper body/core strength is very important for runners, especially sprinters.

5) Report your daily accomplishments in the run/race reports forum to receive additional support or advice as you need it.

6) Train smart and be mentally strong about it. A good runner isn't developed overnight.

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