Despite being one of the easiest exercises to pick up, many people share a love/hate relationship when it comes to running. It takes a lot of willpower to get started, and you may find it very mundane halfway through the course. You probably feel even more reluctant to run if you have poor stamina.
However, there are many benefits you can gain from this simple exercise. A frequent run helps to:
- Improve overall health
- Lower your risk of breast cancer and stroke
- Lose or maintain your weight
- Give a sense of achievement
- Improve appetite
- Improve sleep quality
- Relieve stress
Now, how can you start to like running in order to tap into these benefits?
1. Make sure your body is conditioned for the run
By ensuring that you consume a meal consisting of food high in carbs at least an hour before the run will allow you to have more energy for the exercise. Eating too much or running on an empty stomach can cause discomfort, as the body cannot digest well while you sprint across the track at the same time. Now you know why you might have felt abdominal cramps, stomach aches or runner’s trots when you ran. Also, do not drink too much water before your run. You’re not a camel, your body cannot store the excess fluid you consume. Besides having to hold your pee in while you run (it’s a terrible feeling, trust me), you may also experience a side stitch (stabbing, sharp pain below your ribs), which hinders your performances. Drink only about 100 to 200ml of water before you run, to ensure that you have sufficient hydration.
2. It’s okay to start small
Never overestimate your body. Set a realistic goal that you can achieve, and gradually up your game. It is completely fine that you aim only to brisk walk for 30 minutes on the first few days. This gets your body ready for tougher challenges. Slowly increase your speed into a run, and up extend the distance and duration of the run with progression. When you see improvements in your performance, you will feel even more motivated to stick to the exercise. Always remember, you should not feel pressurized to stay healthy!
3. Prioritize the duration, not your distance
Your reluctance to run may increase if you base your target on distance. The thought of a 5km run for someone who isn’t a seasoned runner may appear daunting and exhausting. Instead, use the duration of the run as the gauge. This allows you to adjust your pace according to your body conditions. If you feel great, you can run faster for a good 30 minutes. If you’re under the weather, you can jog leisurely for half an hour. The goal is to get your body moving, you’re not trying to conquer a distance.
4. The gear does not really matter
No proper running outfit? Fret not, just throw on some comfortable clothes, play some songs through your earpiece and start the motion. Thinking that you need special equipments for a run discourages you from running. The only gear you should be concern about is the pair of shoes you run in. Wearing the proper footwear reduces the possibility of injuries and enhances performance. After keeping to the exercise for at least half a month, you can start to consider purchasing some better gears for your workout.
5. Get a running buddy
Get a dog, or a friend to go running with you! If you’re a dog person, a furry companion that begs to be taken on a daily run gives you more reason to put on those running shoes! If your buddy comes in a human form, make sure that both your workout agenda matches. You don’t want someone who lacks determination and perseverance. Imagine getting all pumped up for a run when your buddy decides to go shopping instead? Find someone who won’t drag you down.
Now, the only thing that’s left is to get started! Get your adrenaline pumping and hit the tracks!
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