How to Love Running – Even if You Hate It.

May 8, 2012

running for a causeI am inspired. I’ve just finished reading in The Advocate about the Get Your Rear in Gear 5K Run, which was held the 28th of April at Pennington Biomedical Research Center. What a great cause; running for awareness and fundraising to fight colon cancer; a terrible disease that has claimed the lives of two of my dearly loved and respected friends.

Then, on the website for the 5K run, I saw an intriguing link: Girls On The Run 5K, that also was held at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center here in Baton Rouge. The event was held on May 5th. The organization’s site states about the program, “Girls on the Run is a non-profit prevention program that encourages preteen girls to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through running.” There is actually a curriculum that mentors use to work with these girls for 10 weeks as they train for the 5K. The aim is to enhance physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual well-being. A fantastic endeavor, I would say.

All this talk makes me want to put on my running shoes and hit the pavement. But wait… there’s a problem.

I hate running.

I really do – I hate the feeling of my feet pounding on the ground; my insides jarring. I hate the side stitches I inevitably feel. I breathe much too heavily, and my lungs seem to ache after 2 minutes. I also am of the opinion that I look like an intoxicated monkey as I attempt to get from point A to point B. In addition to all that, I find it to be extremely boring.

As it turns out, I’ve discovered today that I’m doing it all wrong. This makes me excited, because after I read these beginner’s tips, I think there may be a possibility that I might like running after all. Maybe you will too.

Running Tips for Beginners:

  • For goodness sake, take it easy. This is apparently where I first went wrong. I started running by, well… running. But new runners are told to stick to flat paths, begin and finish with three to five minutes of walking, and run in brief intervals combined with longer stretches of brisk walking.
  • Get the proper gear. Perhaps my Keds weren’t proper running shoes? That would explain why my feet were exploding when they hit the pavement. New runners should get properly fitted for a quality running shoe.
  • Take the talk test. Recite a well-known verse or poem. You should be able to speak without struggling while you run. If you can’t get the words out, take your speed down; you’re working too hard.
  • Set goals and track progress. You can set a personal goal for yourself, or take the plunge and register for a local 5K. Visit the website www.claimyourjourney.com for up-to-date information on running events in Louisiana.
  • Follow the three-week rule. Your body must have time to adjust before you add more intensity to your regimen. If you change too quickly, you’ll fall in the trap that makes most new runners quit: trying to do too much too soon.
  • Have fun! Many runners have enjoyed the program Couch to 5K, which helps beginners take proper and reasonable steps. Start a running blog; jog with a friend; listen to motivating music.

There are several great things about running.  No expensive equipment is needed. You don’t have to drive to the gym, or even go through the trouble of pulling out your exercise mat and popping in a DVD (and believe me, some days that seems like a lot of trouble!). Just put on your shoes and step out the front door.

So, take a deep breath, take it easy, and RUN!

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Matt & Ainsley Cohn

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