Wednesday, September 22, 2010

If I Can Do It, You Can Do It (No, Seriously)

I consider myself to be the foremost expert on non-runner's running. I am the least likely person in the entire world to pursue running as a form of exercise. I've never been very athletic, and running in particular has always been a huge challenge for me. But to my surprise, once I decided to try it out (because my hatred for running is eclipsed by my love of efficiency, and really, what exercise is more efficient than running? None.), I'm not that bad at it. I imagine that if I hadn't taken the summer off, I'd be a champion marathoner by now, gracing the cover of Runner's World. Alas, I have to start the process over again. I am just easing back into things, and my body is sore from yesterday's run, so I did not run today (probably couldn't have if I tried), so I have nothing exciting to report. Instead, I will give my top 5 expert tips (read: whatever the first 5 things that come into my mind are) for any non-runners who are beginning to run. Because I made a lot of bone-headed mistakes, and had I known better, my life would have been easier.

1) Take it slow. Seriously. I know it's all exciting and new, but you're going to hurt yourself if you overdo it. I'm being smarter this time around, listening to my body. When you're really sore, stay in, dummy!
2) Find your pace; it's slower than you think. This was the difference between running being totally miserable and running being bearable. When I started getting into a running grove, I was running around an 8 minute/mile. That's obviously too fast for me. I was always winded, took frequent walking breaks, and really had to push myself. One day I just slowed it down a little to see what happened, and suddenly it wasn't so bad! It was like, DUH! Once I slowed it down to around a 10 minute/mile pace, I started really making progress and no longer needed walking breaks.
3) You have to run consistently in order for it not to suck. I do other active things like walking, tennis, and hiking mountains, but none of those things are running, and if you start slacking, it starts sucking again. You have to get out there several times a week, okay?
4) Get your goals in order. Why are you running? You want to lose weight? That's nice, but you're probably going to gain weight (as fat turns to muscle) before you lose weight, and you will probably give up before you see any significant weight loss. When I started running, I explicitly didn't have weight loss as a goal, rather I want to achieve overall fitness. And I did notice a lot of things-my lungs got stronger, my heart stopped pounding, I had more energy, I was happier. These things kept encouraging me.
5) Don't listen to Salt-N-Pepa. It'll make you all cocky and you'll run too fast and far. Trust me!!


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