OKAY. I’M GONNA DO IT. I’M GONNA WRITE ABOUT RUNNING. (that is, beyond this post about hating the gym.)
But like…what do you say? There are two camps of people in this world: group A is currently running (well, not at this second, but like, in habit) and they do it all the time and rave about it and do mile counts and 5K’s and all that crazy stuff. This is versus group B, who do that thing where they look longingly at the line of treadmills at the gym and sigh, “I wish I could get into running.” And then I’m there, giant ball of energy, saying “BUT YOU CAN! YOU CAN GET INTO RUNNING! I DID!” And they turn and ask, “How?” and that’s sort of when I mumble and shrug my shoulders and listen to more Fall Out Boy.
So I guess what I’m saying is there isn’t any manual about how to ‘get into running’ and even if there was, I would not be the person to write it. It’s just a few tips that I’ve collected and hopefully you’ll benefit from.
don’t, please don’t, just I swear don’t, go on your first run on the treadmill. It’s the worst. When I first tried running in high school, I went on the treadmill and couldn’t even do it for ten minutes. Everyone agrees on this. Just don’t do it. Wait until it’s warm out or get some good winter running clothes and jog around outside for however long. I used to do a stretch around my lake house (not the more picturesque, since they don’t have a path that actually goes to the lake…but still) and even that in the midday Wisconsin heat was okay.
make a playlist. Even if you aren’t a music person, put together good music. Now, good is a pretty flexible term for a reason. Some of my friends run to skanky rap music, others to audiobooks. Whatever works for you. Mine is an even mix of angsty pop punk, good dubstep remixes of billboard 100 songs, and a little bit of that rap stuff. Don’t judge me.
run a little, walk a little, jog a little. A lot of people go out thinking they have to sprint three miles on the first go. You will actually kill yourself. (Well, maybe not KILL yourself, but you might end up on the side of a country road wheezing and sobbing because you don’t have the strength to walk back to your house. Not that I say that from experience or anything.) What I eventually got to doing was running for the choruses of songs, and then powerwalking on the verses. I eventually worked up to running for the first minute of a song, then two, until I could run a whole song. Then I went every other, walking vs running, until I could run for two songs straight and so forth. This is also a form of interval training which is great for endurance!
stretch stretch stretch. This is something everyone intends to do but basically forgets. If you take the extra few minutes to make sure all of your body (not just your legs!) are all eased up both before and after your workout, you’ll cut out a lot of ouch. Also, if you experience a lot of soreness, the cure is sometimes more running. I say sometimes because if you are dying of pain, you should really take a day off. But if it’s the normal morning bleh’s – a mile or two nips those in the bud.
chug chug chug! Please stay hydrated. I say please because I need to say this to myself all the time – for some reason it never occurs to me to drink much water and I end up lightheaded halfway through my loop. There’s no set amount but definitely stay drinking before, during, and especially after you work out. I use Camelback water bottles and they work great!
look far down the “road.” Okay I mean this two ways: both practical and all metaphorical and stuff. In a literal way, keep your gaze far ahead of you, since if you’re looking at your feet, you won’t run as fast or be as motivated. If you’re on a treadmill, choose one facing a window or something, rather than a screen or worse, a blank wall. (Yes, in the winter I run at a blank wall. It is the most depressing thing.) But in a second sense, look down the road of you as a runner. Yes, the first few weeks are shitty. Yes, it’s hard to see progress. Yes, you will probably get shin splints. But eventually, you realize that it’s awesome. That you look more toned. That you can RUN. DISTANCES. (I swear I almost cried the day I realized I could run a whole mile. Even if it was like, a twelve minute mile. Still.) As cliche as it is – the more you do it, the better you get. Stick with it! But mostly, avoid that treadmill…
also, because I am nice and because I hate doing my Brit Lit readings, here is a second installment of my exercise playlist.
(Yes it includes Thrift Shop and yes I actually like Macklemore. But that’s another post.)