In the past year a few friends and I have participated in many 5k runs where we got an opportunity to interact with scores of runners belonging to different class – novice, average, expert to elite. It was a privilege talking to these champions about their training, experience, motivation and pleasure they extract from running. I was also curious to learn about the things they did differently to enjoy running. There was one BIG thing that held true for 70-75% of the runners – guess what? They all were initially disinclined or unsure about running.
We too faced the same challenges and hurdles. However, continuous and persistent effort assisted us in crossing the barrier and there was no looking back after that. Some of the lessons learnt from our 5k runs are mentioned below. Hopefully, this will help you overcome some of the initial impediments you might face being a new runner.
- Start from where you are - Follow a plan that starts from where you are fitness-wise, and builds slowly based on how your body responds to the training.
- Don’t be anxious or nervous – There is nothing to be worry about even if you cannot run more than fifty meters in one stretch or your 10 year old beat you in race. After just a few runs, you will notice a drastic improvement in your stamina and endurance level.
- Interval running – Start with a walk if you have never ran in your life. A quarter mile of walking with one minute of running in one stretch will do the wonder.
- Absolutely no shame in walking – Don’t run if you don’t feel like running. Just be consistent about walking and follow a routine.
- Don’t stop – Make a promise to yourselves that you will cover the distance walking or jogging non-stop. The distance could be as low as quarter of a mile to anything you decide. This will help you win over the initial resistance of your body to your commitment.
- Right gear (whatever possible) – Right running outfit and gadgets help in running tremendously. It took me some time to realize the importance of running shoes or music and how it enhances the efficiency by at least 15-20%.
- Let your body be your guide – Don’t force anything upon the body. You will get the signal from your body about when should pace up and move to the next level. One important point to remember is that once you start running up to 3 miles in a stretch, running becomes meditation. You can feel the lightness in the body, purity in your thoughts and an inner sense of accomplishment. That’s when you will experience “runner’s high” which is bliss.
- Enjoy your moment – Take a close look on any image of a runner in a race, you will always see a smile on their face even after completing a long race. Why? Because running gives them eternal happiness which is way more powerful than the fatigue and exhaustion your body goes through while running.
- Always believe, it’s not that hard – I always feel that running after a while is more psychological than physical. Therefore, you always have to think, “it is not too hard” which will be supported when you will see the improvement in your timing and distance.
- Be proud of your deed – Don’t be shy about spreading the message about your new passion or hobby to your family and friends. Share with them about the amazing changes you are experiencing in your life because of running. Trust me, the appreciation you receive from them will do a ton of help in boosting your confidence.
- Don’t be timid when asking questions – Last but not least, never wait to ask questions about anything which bothers you while running – your running style, calorie burn, what shoes are the best, which running app etc. Any extra information can take you an extra mile in this sport.
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