Few sporting endeavours could be easier to take up. You can run in almost any weather and at the time of day that is convenient for you. You can run alone or join a group or club. And the route’s your choice: roads or trails, a local track, around the block or a treadmill at the gym.
But you think you don’t have time. All it takes is 30 minutes, three to four times a week – that’s a total of two to three hours a week for yourself and your health – not much when compared to the time spent on work and other commitments. And the rewards are enormous: you will have more energy, sleep better, any extra weight will melt away and you’ll have time for yourself. So, fit fitness into your life.
Since there is only one piece of equipment that will be key to your enjoyment and performance, you should give consideration to your shoes.
The science of the running shoe has closely followed the advances of running over the past 25 years. They have both grown and developed to an amazing degree. Now, Asics has designed a range of shoes that are tailored to improve your comfort and performance – an investment that’s truly worth it. After all, you only have one pair of feet.
- Running is the most efficient path to cardiovascular fitness. Thirty minutes a day, four times a week will lead to a high level of fitness in a short time.
- Studies show that regular running can also reduce the risk of osteoporosis and diabetes and cut the risk of a heart attack in half.
- Running is the most accessible of aerobic sports. All you need is a good pair of running shoes.
- Running is the best method of stress reduction on the market.
- Running is an excellent component of any weight control programme.
- Running is a flexible method of training. You can run at your own pace, with or without company, at whatever time of day that suits you.
- Running increases your overall sense of well-being. Fitness, self-esteem and confidence all increase with exercise.
- Running is a great social activity. Millions of people already run for health, fun, fitness and competition and there are many established running clubs.
- Wear reflective material if you run before dawn or after dark.
- Run against traffic to observe approaching vehicles.
- Always stay alert and attentive.
- Vary your running route.
- Avoid unpopulated areas, deserted streets, and overgrown trails.
- Run with a partner or dog.
Tips for runners starting out
- Run with a friend. This helps pass the time and keeps you motivated. (It’s a lot harder to cop out of a run if someone’s expecting you.)
- Eat right. Examine your eating habits and make sure you eat a balanced selection of carbohydrates, protein and fresh fruits and vegetables. You’re going nowhere on empty. Cut down on sugary snacks. And drink lots of water.
- Talk or walk. Don’t push yourself too hard at first. If you’re so out of breath that you can’t talk while you run, you’re running too fast. Slow down or even walk for a bit. You’ll find you get fitter faster.
- Time is what counts. In the beginning, it isn’t important how far you run. Rather set a time limit during your first weeks. Your performance will fluctuate. Energy levels are affected by sleep, emotional upsets and diet.
- Love your shoes. Keep a rough record of your running shoe mileage. You should get new shoes every 700-1000 kilometres, even if they look fine.
- Set goals. Realistic, attainable goals are a fantastic motivator. Perhaps there’s a short race you can take part in and if that doesn’t appeal to you, set a goal to run 10 km by the end of the season.
- Less is more. Don’t try too much too soon. Never increase your running by more than 10% per week. That means you should add up your total time for the week, add 10% and divide by the number of times you run.
- Have fun. Running is not just about physical fitness. It can make you look good and feel great and is an enjoyable pursuit.
Losing motivation is the reason that we often give up before we reach our goal. Here’s a handy technique that helps us hold on to our illusive enthusiasm.
- Result: Be realistic, set small challenges and build up to your main goal.
- Attitude: Be positive and stay focussed. Changing your attitude is the first step to changing your habits.
- Variety: Don’t get bored with your routine, explore different routes and incorporate other exercises. Cycling, weights or a few lengths in the pool will make it more interesting and complement your training.
- Enjoyment: Enjoy what you do and do what you enjoy!
The stress factor
For most of us, running means fitness or weight loss, or something we enjoy and fit in to our otherwise hectic lives. That means that when time is tight and we are tired, frazzled, frustrated and struggling to sleep, we quit running, which in fact makes the situation worse.
Taking anger or frustration out on the pavements instead of on people/things is a great way to relieve stress. Tests have shown that this form of exercise is a highly effective, cathartic method for releasing tension. Running takes you out of the strenuous situation and fills your lungs with fresh air.
Increased fitness will make you feel better and have more energy. You’ll sleep more soundly and wake up more refreshed, which will also up your energy levels. Energy is what drives motivation, helping you achieve the goals in other areas of life.