Wednesday, June 02, 2010

National Running Day

It's National Running Day - so whether you are a runner or not, it's a good day to go for a run. We all know how good exercise is for us - everything from our muscles to our organs to our brain works better if we exercise. Yes, it really does ... there's scientific research to prove it and I personally attest to that. 

Running ... Because I Can Club
Some runners of our relay teams in a local marathon
Me, Betty, Betsy, Linda, Katie, Kim
Love these women! 
They know the benefits of running and/or walking.

Below are some points from the National Running Day website. Visit their site for more good information. I've added some personal comments in green.

It's all about that first step! Running is an incredibly healthy, easy, and accessible form of exercise. Whether it’s five minutes, 15 minutes, or 45 minutes, every little bit of time spent running makes a difference in the goal to live healthy, happy, and heart strong. So stop making excuses and just do it! (Thanks Nike)


It’s easy to get started running with these simple guidelines.


Relax. Running is a natural act, like breathing or walking. Just about anyone can do it. You may wish to start by walking first, and then gradually incorporating running into your training program. Yes, start with walking - that's what I did when I first ran at age 28 and then again 2 years ago when I came back to running post-accident at age 42. Run 2 mins - walk 2 mins ... repeat a few times today and each time you go out do one more set of run/walk. You can do it!


Think positively. Don’t be discouraged. If you can get through the first several weeks of training, you will find that what seems like a big effort at the start will soon feel natural and easy to you. Within a few weeks, you will experience the joy of running down the street or along a park path. Agree!!


Buy quality gear. The only equipment you will need is comfortable exercise clothes and good running shoes. Go to a running specialty store and get advice about the right shoes for you. This is a debated issue with the renewed interest in barefoot running, thanks to this great book - Born to Run. (read it!) I think barefoot running is natural, but you have to slowly strengthen your feet for it. I also think it's best done on natural surfaces like trails, grass and sand. Road and sidewalk surfaces are not a natural surface, so I think shoes with some support are best when running on them. (though I know people that run on roads with Vibraims and it works for them) I wear Nike Free Shoes for road running and Vibraim Five Fingers for trails/beach. 



Train with a plan. Choose a running/walking course that is readily accessible to you. During your first two training weeks, try to run two or three times per week, on alternate days. Build up gradually. Stretch your muscles on both your running and non-running days. Agree!
Run at “conversation” pace. If you can’t chat with your running companions, you are going too fast. If you are running alone, try singing to yourself, out loud, to make sure your effort and breathing are under control. If you can’t sing, slow down. Apparently my lungs have issues - I still have trouble with this one. I can walk and talk, but most times I can't talk too much while running. 
If your schedule allows, include cross training. Biking, elliptical training, and lifting light weights can help strengthen non-running muscles and prevent injury. Swimming and deep water running can also be helpful in balancing your training and avoiding injuries. Good advice. I bike and lift light weights once a week. I don't want my upper arms flapping as I run :)
Aim for a race. Pick an event that’s at least six weeks in the future. An ideal distance for your first race would be 5K (3.1 miles). This is short enough so that you can truly be ready for your first effort, and long enough to give you the sense of accomplishment that will fuel your future running. Your goal should be to finish, enjoy the event, and look ahead. This is so true! I almost always have an event scheduled, because it's a great motivator to get myself out the door. If you are local, there's a monthly 5k on the Third Thursday (scroll down to the correct date) on the Thun Trail in Reading. Great flat trail! I'm doing it June 17, July 15, Aug 19 and Sept 16. Join me!
So why should you get moving?
One of my main reasons is Because I Can
(I've had my hair cut shorter since this was taken in Apirl)
I can't answer for you, but for me ... to do anything less, would mean I'm not living my life fully alive and I think that would be dishonoring to my creator. 

2 comments:

Kathy said...

Janet, completely humbled that you would stumble on my blog. Thank you for your kind words.

What an encouragement. So enjoyed reading through your blog. I've been praying for {and very much lacking} endurance, you are an amazing example of that. Thank you.

Blessings. Kathy

lainiegallagher said...

Very good tips! I'm so bad about it; I have plantar fasciitis, so I am full of excuses. I simply hate exercise of any kind, and my sore feet get me out of it too often.