Running for the Non-runner

Running for the Non-runner

Convinced running is not for you? Maybe you just need a new approach!


By: Shelly Reese

The world is full of people who claim to hate running. They’ll regale you with tales of stopwatch-wielding high school coaches, blistering hot days and exercise regimes coupled with miserable diets.

They’ll most likely top off their remarks with the pronouncement that running is boring. Which is why this is not an article about running.

Really!

This is an article about getting outside, enjoying the scenery, breathing deeply, sharing time with a friend and taking a healthy, stress-relieving break from your otherwise chaotic day.

1. First Things First
Getting off on the right foot (pun intended, sorry) is essential. Before you begin an exercise program — particularly if you’ve been inactive or have health concerns — talk to your doctor.

Once you’re cleared to start, get a comfortable, supportive pair of running shoes. Many towns have stores that cater to runners, and their staff members can help you select the best style for your needs.

2. Enlist a Friend
Working out with a friend is fun and will help motivate you. (You can’t blow off your morning workout if your friend is waiting for you.) Running with a friend helps keep things interesting: The conversation’s always changing, and you’re more likely to vary your route if you take turns meeting at each other’s houses or at mutually convenient locations.

If your spouse is a runner, why not ask if you could start going out together?

3. Set a Schedule
Choose a time that works best for you. Not a morning person? How about going for a jog during your lunch break or as an after-work stress reducer?

4. Start by Walking
Build up your muscles and your cardiovascular fitness with brisk walks. Spend a few minutes gently stretching before and after you walk and listen to your body while you exercise.

You want to get your heart rate up, but you don’t want to be gasping for breath. Gradually add time and distance to your walks and remember to breathe deeply and take in your surroundings.

5. Combine Walking and Running
Once you have a walking routine in place, incorporate a little jogging. Try walking five minutes and jogging for one. Gradually increase the amount of time you jog until you have weaned yourself from walking.

For many new runners, this is a confusing stage. They think they aren’t running far enough or fast enough. How far or fast you run really depends on your comfort level and what you are trying to achieve. If your goal is to run a marathon, your regimen will be different than if your goal is simply to use running as a healthy social outlet to reduce stress and get outdoors. There’s no rule that says you can’t continue walk/running indefinitely.

6. Stay Motivated
If you find your motivation starting to lag over time, spice up your routine. Try a new route, listen to some new music, set a goal to participate in a 5K or take turns challenging your running partner to meet new objectives. (“Today we have to run up the hill by the water tower.”)

7. Be Safe
Don’t try to do too much too soon. Nothing will derail your running routine faster than an injury.

8. Keep it Fun
Remember why you’re out there in the first place; you’re not running for anyone but yourself.

Breathe in, lace up, stretch out and get out there.

Are you a runner? We want to hear about how you keep yourself motivated. Log in or sign up for P&G everyday and let us know in the comments section below!



Shelly is a writer, communications consultant, wife, mother of two, and artist. When she's not in her office, she's in her studio with her kids making a really big mess. To find out more about her work visit www.shellyreese.net.

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