Running. Love it or hate it? It’s usually one or the other.
I am a lover but wasn’t always. I understand that running can be tough, tedious and will at some point hurt your knees. I also believe however that once you master running it elevates your ability to tackle all kinds of exercise and is key to being ‘cardiovascular’ fit. For me, it also helps burn fat off my body in ways that other workouts do not.
Now I am not saying running works for everyone, logically body types will of course vary and diet is key, but for me running is at the core of why I love exercise as much as I do. What I think is critical for those who wish to start running is the initial approach that they take.
For instance, the worst thing you can do is just go out and pound the pavement. It’s all about baby steps. Start off with a 1k brisk walk, then begin to do a light jog for the next 500mtrs- 1k, if you start finding it uncomfortable stop and go back to walking, if not, speed it up a little . Do this for 30 mins 3 times per week and I guarantee you will find that after 3 weeks, you will improve, and it will get easier and you will want to run for longer. I took this approach across a period of months and I can now run distance without stopping or thinking much about it, it begins to feel as natural as walking, and most of the time – really damn good. To me, nothing beats the therapeutic aspect that comes with the way you breathe when you run. It is also a great excuse to get outside in the fresh air, especially for those of us with desk jobs who are stuck sitting in air-conditioning all day.
A final important tip besides an approach to walk/running is establishing a fellow running partner/partners. It is impossible to skip that morning run when you have a running buddy waiting for you, and all the better when you have someone to talk to and take your mind off the running part, as well as push you when you need it (healthy competition is imperative to exercise!).
To me, running is something I love and appreciate having the ability to do, it did however take me years to get there and I consistently work at maintaining my running each week. Just don’t expect to smash out 7ks at first, work towards it to minimize injury and not end up back in the “I hate running” box.