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Running – How and Why?

Posted Jun 01 2011 1:37am

Is running something that should be a staple of your training, is it something we as human beings are made to do on a regular basis? That is a question that has long puzzled me and I have gone through periods of doing lots of running and other times where I haven’t gone on a ‘run’ for over a year. In fact I just came out of one of those periods and have started going on runs on a somewhat sporadic basis – I keep runs short and only run when I feel like it…..

Running when done correctly is a very enjoyable experience and a great at stimulating the body as well as being a potent stress reliever. The fact of the matter is that when it comes to working out nothing feels quite like a run. Be it an interval workout, playing a sport, swimming or doing some cross trainer in the gym – nothing beats a good outdoor run and getting in ‘that zone’.

You don’t stop running because you get old. You get old because you stop running. - Jack Kirk

Its not only the feeling we get while running –  forgetting about worries, and relieving tension but it is also the feeling we get after a good run. The calm and focus, as if the world slows down and we have more time to think. Problems become opportunities and life feels better, even food tastes better.

There’s something so universal about that sensation, the way running unites our two most primal impulses: fear and pleasure. We run when we’re scared, we run when we’re ecstatic, we run away from our problems and run around for a good time. – Christopher McDougall

How Do I Run

At the moment I am keeping things simple, I keep runs short and only run when I feel like it. Thats it two simple rules. So in terms of keeping runs short I normally have them hover around 20-30 minutes, this seems to be the optimum time in which I enjoy the run and still get in a flow and feel a benefit from it.In terms of running when I feel like it, this makes things irregular – sometimes I can feel like running once a week, other times twice. To be honest though it is rarely more than that.

Try these two rules yourself, listen to your body – see when and for how long you really feel like running. Never run for the sake of it, or because you feel like you should run in order to make up for something. Try to take nice routes and enjoy the scenery. I believe one of the biggest benefits of running is getting outdoors, taking in the world and flushing your lungs with fresh air. Running is also an excellent simulator of the lymphatic system due to the rhythmic movement which stimulates the immune system.

How to Run

Start slow. Take things at your own pace. This guide to running 5K is a great place for any runner to start, it will give you a plan to start running and build up to a level which allows you to run 5K without stopping or at a good pace.

Don’t be afraid to mix walks into your runs. In fact I recommend people who are just starting up to run for 5 minutes then walk for 5 minutes and repeat this cycle twice. It is a good beginners 20 minute workout.Run at your own pace and in comfortable clothing

No fancy equipment required. I like to run to music and use a simple device which just allows me to listen to a small selection of tracks and can be clipped on clothing. Listening to music while running is a great thing for those of us living in a more urban environment – people who have the luxury of jogging in peace and quiet can enjoy the sounds of nature while running.

Run in minimal footwear. Nike Free’s are a current preference or Vibram 5 Fingers are great. There are many minimal trainers out there and for me they are the best thing for short runs. Any other shoes feel like moon boots once you get used to minimal shoes.

In a nut shell enjoy your runs and do them because you feel like running. That is the key to integrating running as a healthy and enjoyable part of your life, It will make sure you run for the correct amount of time and when your body is ready for it. This is what contributes to looking and feeling healthy.

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