Each week this month, we’ll focus on a different activity you might consider to get moving. This week is one of my favorites: running. It takes a lot of guts to begin running as an adult, especially if you have never run in the past. I mean…someone might see you…and you might sweat! Have no fear. I’ve been running for years and still manage to make it look like I just started yesterday. (If you’re that concerned, run along well-lit streets late at night or early in the morning. That’s what I do!)
It is true that a lot of runners you will meet along the way were runners on cross country teams or track and field runners in high school. There are plenty of us that just picked it up recently though, so don’t let a lack of experience discourage you. Basically, you put one foot in front of another and try not to fall down. We’re all doing the same thing but with varying degrees of grace and coordination.
Let’s face it: running is what most of us grew up doing as a punishment or off-season training for another sport!
Regardless of your age, if you can walk, you can run. It might not be pretty or comfortable, but you have the physical capacity to do so. Even those “old guys” you see shuffling along are doing it right! That only leaves one question: where do you start?
Look up Couch to 5K programs online and see if any of them are feasible for you. They can be a bit overwhelming, so pick out 2 or 3 and compare them. If those seem like too much, check out interval training or None to Run. These will start you with about 30 seconds of running every 2 minutes or so and gradually build up from there. I used an interval training podcast when I started years ago, and you can find a ton of options for that online.
Discomfort vs. Pain
Going from a static object to a vector is hard. Translation: sitting still is easy and getting moving requires real effort. Talk to you doctor about physical activity that you’re considering, and listen to your body. There’s a difference between the discomfort of running a new distance or faster speed and physical pain. Have a good handle on both because you’ll need to know if something isn’t right or if it is just time to buy new running shoes. Let me give you an example. I once felt like my knee was going to give way each step I ran. It was an odd sensation; didn’t hurt, but I knew it wasn’t right. A trip to the doctor and some physical therapy helped me strengthen my core and hip. That eliminated my IT band issue, which is what caused that odd sensation while I was running. It never did hurt, but I learned a valuable lesson about listening to my body.
Running shouldn’t be painful. The only time I feel pain is in that brief moment that is usually preceded by another brief moment of weightlessness; ie, when I fall down!
Running individuals are not required to be coordinated individuals.
If I could start running in my 30s without any real expectation of liking it or even really wanting to do it, you probably can to. The real reason I started: I signed up for a stupid 5K in Cape Girardeau that raised money for the Arthritis Foundation, and I wanted to raise funds for them. My dad has R.A. My decision didn’t have anything to do with running, so if you intentionally try, think of how much farther you’ll go!