Here’s why I run
Every spring, I like to take a few moments and think about why I run and how I can encourage more people to start running.
If you are like me, it feels great to get outside and feel the warmth of the sun, breathe in the fresh air, and smell the fresh-cut grass and scent of flowers in the air. It is also a time to start feeling a bit uneasy about the 5 or 10 pounds I have added to my waistline since last fall. Thanks to these factors, spring is by far the easiest time of year to start a running program. To help get you motivated, I have listed my top 10 reasons for running.
1. Running will improve your fitness. Running is the most efficient path to cardiovascular fitness and a great physique. Thirty minutes a day, four days a week, and you will start seeing and feeling the benefits.
No matter how busy you think you are, there is always time for a run. Put on your running shoes, step out the door and start running. Not only will running help you lose that extra fat, but it will improve your overall disposition and the quality of life.
2. Running is the easiest and most accessible aerobic sport. My runs always start from my front door when I am in town. Within minutes, I can be on a mountain trail and I know of no better place to run. When I travel, my running shoes always accompany me and not only do I stay fit, but I learn more about the areas I am visiting. This past weekend, I was in Greeneville, Tenn., visiting my mother, and I have to say that spring in the Great Smoky Mountains is awesome.
3. Running is inexpensive and everyone can learn to run. The only major cost associated with running is the cost of good running shoes. If you have fairly normal feet, a good pair of shoes should cost from $60 to $85 and they should last you approximately 500 miles. That works out to 17 cents per mile, which is a lot cheaper and more beneficial than just about any other form of exercise. The old cliche “If you can walk, you can run” is generally true. If you start slow and mix running with walking, you should be able to increase your fitness level and be able to run continuously for 30 minutes in just a few weeks.
4. Running reduces stress. In less than 30 minutes, it will clear your mind and allow you to feel good about yourself. Stress and worry cannot coexist with a smile on your face and the wind blowing through your hair, and nothing works as quickly or effectively as running.
5. Running is great for weight control. When combined with a proper nutritional program, running will burn off those excess pounds and motivate you to keep that extra weight off. A long, slow run is one of the best methods of reducing stored fat from your body.
6. Running is flexible. You can run any time of the day or night, with friends or by yourself, fast or slow, long or short, in the mountains, on the roads, or on the track. Running can be very accommodating to your specific needs and schedules. Even winter running can be comfortable and fun if you dress properly and pay attention to a few simple precautions.
7. Running will make you feel good. As with any new exercise program, there is an initial phase of training that can be painful (no pain – no gain), but if you start slowly, your body will adapt. As the initial shock to your system wears off, running will become enjoyable. Whether the good feeling comes from an improved self-image, pride, or a natural chemistry, everyone who runs regularly will notice it.
8. Run with world-class athletes. Most of us will never play in the NBA or the Super Bowl, but we can run with the world’s-best runners in local and regional running races like the Bay to Breakers or the Lake Tahoe Marathon. Whether you run in the middle or the end of the pack or race with the leaders, the goal should always be to have fun.
9. Running is for all ages. There are running programs for kids of all ages. Children’s events are generally noncompetitive in nature with rewards for all participants. Masters runners are usually grouped in five-year age groups and it makes you look forward to growing older and moving up into the next age group.
10. Start training so you can participate in the new America’s Most Beautiful Relay around Lake Tahoe on Sept. 6. The Kiwanis Sunrisers are producing this new and exciting event for South Lake Tahoe. The race will feature eight-person teams, three-person teams, and a solo race for the ultra runners who want to go the full 72 miles around the lake. Last evening, I handed in my entry for the solo run, so stay tuned for details about this event in future articles.
Now don’t waste another minute; slip on your shoes and step out your door and start a running program that will last you a lifetime. If you have questions about training, nutrition, shoes or anything else to do with running or fitness, call me at 577-5073 or write to me care of this paper. For those runners on-line, my e-mail address is Wtough@oakweb.com
Run long and keep smiling!
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