By Brittanie McDonald
DHAC Exercise Staff
My love for running began when I was about 12 years old and in middle school. Every day in gym class, we would start by running a mile and half loop around the fields to get warmed up. I continued running through middle and high school. When I started college at Northeastern, I walked onto the cross country and track teams where I competed against division 1 athletes for the next 3 years. To this day, you will still see me sweating it out on the treadmill, working up my mileage.
For some, running comes naturally and is as easy as putting one foot in front of the other. But for most, it’s not nearly as simple, or enjoyable for that matter. We had a saying on the team at Northeastern, “Our team’s sport, is your team’s punishment!” We knew that the majority of people, including athletes, loathe running.
But everyone – even you – can run. You will find that you might enjoy it just as much as that bike or the elliptical!
Most hate it because they find it painful, boring, or they simply don’t have the endurance. The key to becoming a successful runner, competitive or not, is to start slow. Don’t try to start with a sprint! Want a few more quick tips for increased endurance and stamina? Here we go!
- Put some music with a great beat on your iPod
- Start with a 5-10 minute WALKING warm-up
- Increase the speed until you find a point where you can no longer walk, but need to JOG. Maintain that pace for anywhere from 1 minute to 3 minutes.
- Drop the speed back to your walking pace and recover. (Ideally, recovery time should be shorter than jogging time but take as much time as needed)
- Repeat this 3-5 more times
- Cool down for 5 minutes
- Try this 2-3x/week and work on gradually increasing the length of your jogging time.
By using these tips on the treatmill or track, you see just how much you can do when you pace yourself! Also, don’t over do it. While running is a great cardiovascular workout, it’s also high impact and tough on the joints. Mix up your cardio with some lower impact exercise (elliptical, bike, water aerobics), incorporate strength training into your workouts for joint support and most importantly, STRETCH after your workout!
Do you love or hate running? Have any other tips for getting started?