The Three Laws of Getting in Motion - Starting to Run to Get in Shape
Getting in Motion - Running and Staying in Shape
When I think of motion I immediately think running. Is there anything so beautiful and challenging at the same time? Running is a great way to get in shape and maintain a healthy lifestyle - but it can be hard to get started!
Getting out and moving offers immense rewards but it can take everything you have to actually go and do it.In physics, Newton came up with three laws that governed the motion of bodies. I'm stealing his laws and applying them to running and adding my insight to help you get moving!
Welcome to new visitors - it is humbling and exciting to get this kind of response. Hearing stories of inspiration from you is helping me stay motivated and remain in motion. Thanks!
P.S. Don't judge me on my knowledge of physics - Isaac Newton might be turning over in his grave right now but I hope my version of his laws give you some insight into running.
If a body
is at rest it remains at rest. If a body is in motion it remains in motion.
The First Law of Motion
It seems simple, right? Something that isn't moving won't move until something acts on it. In the case of running, the only force that is going to act on you is - you! It takes initiative and discipline to go out for a run. It's much easier to sit on the couch and watch that Hoarders marathon!
The upside to this is that once you get running, you'll find it hard to stop. Your body will adjust to the demands you're placing on it and it will become a part of your routine. So the trick is getting there! Here's some helpful hints that I used to get me back into running earlier this year.
Overcoming that initial hurdle and going from a body at rest to a body in motion can be the toughest part. How did I do it last fall?
- Make running fun by playing a sport or another activity. You could follow my lead and start playing Ultimate Frisbee or play soccer or basketball. Or maybe include your dog on your runs. Run to another activity you enjoy instead of driving. However you do it, tricking yourself into getting a fantastic workout can really help you get in motion. And once you're moving...
- I used to be a cross country runner and it was hard for me to accept the fact that a mile or two was enough. I ended up making myself injured rather than in shape by trying to push it too hard and too fast. Back off and run for the right reasons - to have fun and feel good. Speed will come!
- Walk some! Generally, a mile of walking burns as many calories and does as much good for your endurance as a mile of running. This means that slowing down or walking altogether can help you prevent injuries and enjoy your time more than pushing the pace every chance you get.
- Give yourself a really strong push out the door. I touch later on the external factors that can help but this one helped me so much while training for my half-marathon that I want to get it out there early: stickK. Basically, you set a goal, pick someone to hold you accountable and then put money on the line. If you don't reach your goal, the money goes to an organization you pick. In my case I added some additional potential pain by picking a charity whose mission I completely disagree with! It definitely got me out the door and running on the days I didn't feel like it.
Scheduling Your Runs
- Play around with different times for your runs. Early morning, lunch break, right after work, evening after the kids go to bed. There's no right time to run so experiment with different times and find one that fits your body and schedule.
- Try to run at least a few times a week. You can do something simple like running every other day or plan certain days that work best for you. I try to do a longer run every Sunday. No matter what you pick, stick with it!
- Set a goal for a specific race and sign up for the race. Once you have something on your calendar that you are pushing for you are much more likely to get out and run. It's even better if you let people know you've signed up!
- Track your mileage. There are a ton of websites out there that help you map, time and track runs with or without GPS. When I was training for my half-marathon I used Daily Mile . My friends and I were able to easily follow our runs and the rest of the group and help keep each other on schedule!
When do you like to run?
What time do you usually run?
The acceleration of a body
is directly proportional to the force acting on the body and inversely proportional to the mass of the body.
The Second Law of Motion
Ok, so what does this mean? I can't really tell you in physics terms but I can explain it in terms of running. For one, you need some external factors to help push you forward - to accelerate you! This could be a number of different factors and I'll explain in a bit what accelerates me.
For another, as your mass drops your speed will increase. This is actually true! The more you run the easier it will get as you drop weight and get into shape. Just repeating the process of running over and over helps train your brain to become more efficient at it - not to mention your muscles, bones and tendons getting stronger to meet the increased demands.
So if you want to get faster - find external ways to boost your motivation and get in shape! Makes sense, right?
Apply External Forces
What can you do to help motivate you and speed up your runs? These are some of the tricks that have worked for me!
- Listen to music. A good workout mix is key for me and according to this article and others can actually help speed you up. I really enjoy movie soundtracks while I run - it's a bit weird but it works for me. Some of my favorites are The Fountain, Pirates of the Caribbean and Game of Thrones.
- Immerse yourself. I've been playing Zombies, RUN! and loving the game and story line. It's available for iPhone and Android. As far as I know there's no comparable products out there but I'm on the lookout as I'm nearing the end of this story. It's been awesome for getting me out and going.
- Track your mileage and let people check up on you. Accountability is a great way to keep moving. I mentioned Daily Mile earlier and there are a number of other similar sites.
- Try new places! I have a friend that loves running to find geocaches , small little treasure chests hidden all over the place. There's almost assuredly one (or hundreds) near you. If that doesn't interest you, just try new routes and see new things. The excitement is a big motivating factor for me. I love trail running in new areas where I never know what will be just around the corner. Just stay safe!
- On a cold day like we get in Iowa, warm up inside your house. By the time you head outside for your actual run your core temperature will be up a little bit and it won't feel quite so bad.
If you want to get faster or go farther - or just get moving - dropping some weight and getting in shape makes it a lot easier.
- Obviously, dropping body weight is tough. But getting fancy gadgets isn't tough, just expensive and they can definitely provide a boost! Running gear that is high tech and fits the conditions you're running can improve your performance - or at least motivate you to get out there. I got a pair of Nike Free running shoes and loved the barefoot style and look.
- As the weight drops and you get stronger it will continue to get easier. To me, that is pretty powerful motivation. You can measure your progress by pounds but I recommend time you run and how you feel - the weight loss will follow!
- You've probably heard of "runner's high" and to a certain point I get it. The feeling you get after finishing a great run that pushed you to your limits is really powerful. Once running became a habit for me again I found it very meditative and something I missed if I didn't do it. Dropping a lot of stress and anxiety with a tough run is a great way to drop the weight you're carrying around every day.
I love to read and I love to run. Reading books about running has taught me a ton and usually helps motivate me when I'm feeling tired or want to take a week off. Check these out and see what you think!
For every action
there is an equal and opposite reaction.
The Third Law of Motion
In running terms that means - running won't always be fun. Or easy. Pushing your body to the limit will hurt sometimes, maybe a lot. But most things worth doing aren't easy so don't let the reaction stop you from taking action. This is some advice for pushing through the pain and finding the benefits!
Reduce the Reaction
How can you make running easier on your body? Here's my advice!
- Go to a running store and get sized for a pair of shoes that fit and fit well. You're going to smack your feet against pavement thousands of times - you want them to fit. Make sure you try jogging in them a little bit and be aware that your shoe size can actually change a bit as the day goes on.
- Don't just run on the sidewalk! In fact, the sidewalk is some of the toughest and flattest surface you will find, which makes it the worst for injury prevention. Explore some trails in your area, the grass at a local cross country course or golf course (after hours), a track or even the road. A little bit of fluctuation in where you run can keep you healthier longer.
- Stay hydrated! You need more water than you think before and after you run. I have routes in my hometown that hit water fountains so I don't have to carry it with me but my wife has a belt pack for drinking that she swears by on hot days.
- Eat well. Food is your fuel so pay attention to what you're eating. I'm not a health nut but as I've been running I have become more conscious of what I'm putting into my body and what it needs to function at a higher level.
Are you a runner? Are you wanting to get in motion? Let me know your thoughts or questions. I love to learn new things and help others get better.