(I figure if Forest can do it, so can I right??)
I always had a fear and curiosity about running. I was fearful because people often warned about what it does to your joints (me and my twisted up ankles probably couldn’t handle the stress). I was curious because of the numerous health benefits that running seemed to provide not to mention its free to run; no membership or crazy equipment required!
Last year, I wanted to try it but was so afraid of killing my poor joints! What was a girl to do? Bite the bullet and run? Or keep things easy with my trusty elliptical? Well I bit the bullet! Fast forward to today where I run about 6-8 miles a week at about a 6.5-6.9 speed. Whoop whoop! Now I didn’t just start out sprinting, oh no… if anything, the first time I tried running, I was grabbing the rails and gasping for air after 5 minutes (and a MUCH slower pace). So how did I go from a lazy llama to a galloping gazelle?
- Increased pace and time slowly: It’s taken a little less than a year to get to the pace I’m at now. Every month until now, I increased my time OR my pace. I didn’t do both at the same time because I really wanted my body to adjust without overdoing it. I allowed myself to get comfortable for about 4-6 weeks and then upped the ante. Just this month I’ve increased to a 6.9 pace and next month I’ll try to increase my time to 25 minutes. I try not to go higher than a 30 minute run though. When I increase my pace, I’ll bring it back down to 12-15 minutes.
- Self-Motivated with music: I love, love, love a good workout playlist. The beats help push me past my plateau and get me through those last five minutes; Pandora and iTunes can provide great songs I need to keep up. Certain songs have a rhythm that is perfect for running (or cycling) so I use that fast pace to get myself going. BEP, Gaga, Rihanna, even a little Tyga (don’t judge – Rack City is a perfect jam for the gym!) anything I need to get those gams moving!
- Focused on Form: My brother ran track and my ex-boyfriend was an avid runner. I asked them both to help me with my form so that I could avoid as much injury as possible. They both provided me with similar suggestions: Run through your foot (as in don’t just plant your foot, start with the heel and run through to the toe), don’t let your arms swing to far forward, keep toes straight (luckily I’m not pigeoned toed or duck footed), and keep your torso upright. Having that mental checklist when I start my run helps keeps me in good form each time.
- Distracted effectively: Reading books or studying while exercising is ambitious to say the least (no shade to those who do though!). But when I run, it’s really a full body workout that requires a bit of focus. In addition to music to keep me pumped, I watch a cooking show, game show or sitcom to distract myself. It helps the time go by faster, especially for those longer runs, and I don’t bore myself to death staring at the mirror or window.
- Run every week: Now I know everyone has different fitness levels so this may be a bit much for some folks. But I do believe in the mantra of use it or lose it. Running increases your stamina and is a great fat burner so you may not get the best results if you only run once a month. A good week for me might be running 4 times, but usually, I use running as a warm up to my weight training or ab workout.
Looking back, I’m really happy I decided I started to run. It gives me another cardio option when the elliptical machines are full and it’s been a great way to stay in shape without being at the gym. Even when I’ve been out of town or unable to make it to the gym, I can still get out and RUN! It gives me a sense of exercise accomplishment. Not to mention I feel like such a G after I do it! Or maybe it’s the runner’s high, lol… =)