How to Get Started Running for People Who “Can’t”
“No matter how slow you go you are still lapping everyone on the couch.” I saw this quote on a Pinterest graphic and I was instantly amused and drawn in. You see, I am not a very consistent runner, but I would like to be. It can be intimidating to start any new exercise routine, especially at the age of 40! What I have found is that the biggest thing you need to run is the desire to do it, and a commitment to leave your fears at home. I believe the biggest thing that held me back for so many years was my fear of failure. I am not 20 anymore, things hurt and don’t bend like they used to. What was I afraid of though? I couldn’t really tell you. In the end, I had to get over myself and as Nike would say, “Just Do It!” I am pleased to tell you that if I can run, anyone can.
First things first, how do you get started, exactly? Well, for me it was all about scheduling it into my week. I am a busy wife and mother who also works full-time behind a desk. Planning it into the day is still my biggest challenge. But don’t let excuses get in the way. Everyone is busy these days it seems. Nobody ever has enough hours in the day to finish their “to-do list”. I know that activity is part of a healthy routine and I need to make fitness part of my lifestyle. I figured out that exercising on my lunch hour or at 9:30pm before bed seems to be the best times for me to work it into my day. As cliché as this sounds, it is simply a matter of prioritizing what is truly important to you. Get out your calendar and set aside some time for your health.
Next, what are your running goals? Are you planning to run in a race next month or just run for fun around the neighborhood? No matter what your goals are, it is important to track your goals and running progress. There are many apps and fitness trackers available to us these days, so pick one that you like and use it to stay accountable to yourself. Or, maybe you have a friend or spouse who wants to run with you. Planning with another person can really increase your accountability and keep you on track with your running goals.
Okay, so you have your goals mapped out and now it is time to execute the plan! Start slow, there is no reason to push it too hard or too fast. Taking it too aggressively at the start could make you vulnerable to the possibility of an injury. For me, a combination of walking and jogging helps me to keep going longer. If you can’t run continuously at the start, no biggie! Simply walk until you feel you can run again. Other practical tips include stretching, wearing comfortable running shoes, and bringing a water bottle. Oh! I almost forgot! Having some upbeat tunes are also great to help motivate you along the way.
You are on your way! You have been running consistently and are starting to feel good, but even though you have been working your routine you might feel you aren’t getting results fast enough. Don’t give up too soon. Remember that results take time. Training to run doesn’t happen overnight unless you happen to be 20 and are already in great shape. Be patient with yourself and monitor your progress. Slow and steady really does win this race in my experience.
I hope you will find a way to incorporate the fitness routine that works for you and your lifestyle. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! You can do this, I know you can. Wishing you many healthy and alive days now and in the future. ~Suzanne Gainey, SATECH, INC.
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