- Exercise & Fitness
How to Start Running
If you told me a year ago that I would be able to run a 5k easily and actually look forward to running, I would have called you nuts. But that’s exactly what has happened. Running started out as a way to keep up with my eight-year-old daughter, who was training for her first 5k, and has turned into one of the most enjoyable parts of my life. And if I can do it, anyone can.
Your best friend running? That would be Pandora, or some other web-based radio that you can turn on and forget. I know there are some other great running apps on the iPhone, and I’d love for you to share those in the comments.
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I have not always enjoyed running, but I’ve always respected the efficiency and convenience of it. You are probably way too busy to take a lot of time out for exercise. The beauty of running is that it’s free and it’s always there. Until you get serious (whatever that means) about running, you don’t need fancy shoes or clothing. All you need is the pavement, which I realize some critics warn against, but as long as it’s okay with your doctor and you don’t overdo it, the street is fine.
When I started running I would run one block and then walk two. I worked my way up until I could run two blocks and walk one. Slowly I built up my run/walk ratio until I was at the point where I could measure my progress in minutes. I started with ten, then fifteen, and soon I was up to twenty – a respectable amount of time to run. I stayed there quite a while before moving up to twenty-five minutes, then thirty. It was at this point I started to count the miles. Two, three, and now four on a good day. All this has taken a couple of years. With running, ironically, there’s no rush.
Working up the time or distance of your run is great, but it’s just as important to accept that not all days are going to be good running days. One day you may make it five minutes and have to stop. Listen to your body. Don’t push yourself too far or too fast. Know that it’s normal to feel really, really exhausted when you first start running. Your lungs will sting and your legs will ache. If you take a week off, you’ll feel like you’re starting over from scratch. But you’re not. Over time your body will adjust. But it takes a lot of time and patience. The reward is that once you develop a taste for running, you will crave the release it gives, not to mention the ability to eat brownies and still fit into your jeans.