Why Start Running?
Head swimming, neck and shoulders aching, lungs feeling like a couple of very small brown paper bags, legs reluctantly dragging themselves along. It’s an experience common to everyone who has taken that first great mental leap forward and decided to improve their fitness.
Yes, you’re experiencing that sudden physical realisation by both body and mind, usually at about the midpoint in the maiden run, that getting fit requires, well, effort. And pain. Suddenly you’re in a world of hurt - and there’s still more than a mile to go.
The Healthy Workout AheadHalf an hour earlier, the world seemed a wonderful place. Lightly jogging up and down in the hallway on those pristine training shoes, stretching the lungs with a few deep breaths in anticipation of the healthy workout ahead, and double checking that the shorts are secure around the hips and definitely not in danger of falling round the ankles just when you up the pace!
Everyone wants to be fitter and slimmer. Perhaps putting in the effort will mean they can eat a little of what they fancy without dashing to the mirror to watch the pounds attach themselves around the waist in double-quick time. And there is no easier way to achieve this than running. Why? Well, for a start there are no courses to be enrolled on, or fitness coaches to be booked. From a very young age, those of us blessed with good physical health were quickly dashing around in the great outdoors. In short, running came naturally.
Out of PracticeThe course of time may have resulted in the world of work, families and one too many on a Saturday night replacing playing in the park as part of the daily routine, but the body is still aware of the mechanics of putting one foot in front of the other and breaking into a jog. It’s simply out of practice.
Running also requires little in the way of specialist equipment. True, it is important to invest in the correct clothing, and shoes are vitally important both in terms of comfort and preventing injuries, but that is were the expenditure ends. Yes, you can invest in a gym membership and restrict your running to the treadmill, but unlike, say, weight training, the equipment is not vital to completing the workout. The pavements and parks outside your doorstep are all that’s needed to take those first tentative steps towards achieving your goals.
And because running comes naturally, it means that the mind can occupy itself with other matters. Time running is not time necessarily lost in terms of work or planning the day ahead. While the arms and legs are doing the physical work, the miles can fly by while you think through the best way to approach a professional problem, or simply debate what to have for dinner that evening.
Frantic SignalsThis mental ability to distance yourself from what the body is doing comes with putting in the time to get fitter. In the first month or so, there will indeed be those occasions when there is nothing else on your mind than the frantic signals being sent to the brain from arms, legs and lungs, “God, we’re tired. Why the hell did we let you talk us in to doing this?”
The important thing is not to give into the temptation to stop. Think about why you started in the first place. And if all that doesn’t work for you, well, the sight of you hobbling home in your brand new trainers is only going to elicit condescending glances from passers-by. After all, nobody likes a quitter.