I have been running regularly for about 13 years now. The funny thing is, I don’t consider myself a ‘runner’. I just run. It is something I love that I can do. Sometimes I run 7 km, sometimes I sprint 100 metres. Sometimes I play soccer with my son. Sometimes I run to get out of the rain.
Running gets a bad rap sometimes because it is blamed for a lot of injuries. This causes people to believe we aren’t meant to run. Personally, I think humans were designed to run. What we weren’t designed to do is to sit on a couch or in a chair or in a car for most of our life and then get up and try to run. Running is part of an active lifestyle, it’s not a pill you take to combat a sedentary one.
If you don’t believe me, check out this you tube from the Nature of Things entitled, The Perfect Runner. This is just the trailer but you can watch the full length documentary if you are interested. The gist is that we humans were designed to run and this ability to run is what helped us evolve to what we are today.
There is a catch though. You need to get in shape to run. You don’t run to get in shape. You need to ease your way into it or you may indeed get injured.
So if you like the idea of adding running into your life take a read below of my Top 6 Tips to make the transition to running a successful one. But before you even start make sure you can walk for 30 minutes at a time before trying to run. If you haven’t been walking regularly and you attempt to go straight from a sedentary lifestyle to running, skipping the walking parts, you’ll increase your risk of injury. And the last thing you want to do during this pandemic is inflict an injury upon yourself by doing too much, too soon. So please, err on the side of caution. When in doubt, walk. And if you feel any pain, stop. You’re learning to run to make yourself healthier, not to cause harm.
So, if you can already walk 30 minutes at a time and are ready to start running here are a few STARTER TIPS:
1) Make sure you have the RIGHT EQUIPMENT and clothing so that it is an enjoyable experience for you. Check out Julies Learn to Run: Getting Ready Guide here.
2) Set a GOAL distance and find a Learn to Run program that suits you and gets you slowly, but surely ramped up to meet your goal. Even better, sign yourself up for a race so you have a deadline to reach your goal.
Coincidentally (not!) we are once again involved with a Virtual 5 km run happening on September 25th. Even if you are a couch potato today we have a 0-5 km Learn to Run program that will have you race ready by then! You can get the program when you register for the race or if you donate $25 to the Joseph Brant Hospital. You can also just sponsor our team, The Roseland Runners by following the registration link!
3) Find yourself a RUNNING BUDDY. I mean, you don’t have to, but boy oh boy it makes it a lot easier to show up when you know someone is waiting for you.
4) Set a walking/running schedule and STICK TO THE SCHEDULE and don’t let some inclement weather get in your way. I may or may not know you personally and I am pretty sure you are sweet, but I am also pretty sure you aren’t made of sugar. A little rain should not cause you to miss out on your scheduled walk/run.
5) Have FUN with it. Running might be hard work but it shouldn’t be torture. There are a lot of ways to do that, including ensuring you are running at a conversational pace so you can chat with your buddy, or if you are alone make sure you have a great playlist or an interesting podcast playing.
6) My most personal tip: go at your own pace. This simple lesson actually took me two years to figure out… At the time, I just assumed running was hard and it always would be…until I ran with someone who went slower than me. It was the simplest, most life changing moment in my running history. For the first time in two years I wasn’t waiting for the run to be over, I was actually enjoying it, I was just running. No thoughts of finish lines or time clocks From there on in I slowed down and ran at what was a natural pace for me, and I have been enjoying running ever since.
If you want to join our learn to run we would be honoured to have you! If you want to join our team for the Delivering Our Future Run we would be even more honoured. But even if this gets your interest piqued in wanting to get out walking more I am equally as happy.
Movement is medicine, no matter the dose. 🙂