Want to Start Running?
This article will answer questions like:
What is the start-up process that will give me the best chance of success if I want to start running?
What are some reasons people run?
Why does Vern run?
This article will not answer questions like:
Does “running away from something” count?
People start running for many reasons.
Most of them see running as a tool to keep them under a certain weight that they have in mind as a goal they have for themselves.Some people run to compete. Some people become runners to gain strength and endurance in other sports they’re playing since running has great cross-over benefits.
I’ve run most of my life.I’ve run for many reasons.My reasons have all changed over the years.
I’ve been running since I was 6.My parents signed me up for soccer and that set the stage for the next 12 years. I played on regular leagues during the summers and the fall. I grew up in Pennsylvania, so the winters were rest time. I’m so glad there was a rest time!
Up until 18 years old I just ran when I played soccer. I ran nearly every day. If it wasn’t practice it was a game. If it wasn’t a game, it was a basketball game or an indoor soccer game that some friends and I put together.
Running was an integral part of my life, though I was running for a reason before 18 years old – the soccer game.
In my twenties I became a triathlete and competed in many races including bicycle and swimming races. I loved exercise I guess because I had already become pretty good at it since I had 12 years of intense training.I loved the competition in my twenties.
In my thirties I ran to keep my weight down. I am 5’11″ and I my usual weight in my twenties was 165 lbs.In my thirties I crept up as high as 180 lbs and I didn’t feel too good about my self-concept.I ran to lose weight so I could keep eating pizza and spaghetti.
In my late thirties and now – early 40′s I asked myself why I’m still running every other day.
The answer surprised me.
I’m not running for health. I’m not running to lose weight. I’m down to 155 right now and feel great about body weight.I’m not running to compete… I haven’t raced in years.I’m not running to look good.I’m not running to avoid death by staying healthy. I’m not at all concerned about death anymore.
My answer to myself for “WHY” I was running was really surprising to me.
I’m running because when I run I feel a control that is entirely self-generated and self-perpetuating.I love control. We all do I guess, but I really love it.I’m not speaking of control over others – I really don’t like to exert my influence over others if they have no want to change. I am a horrible sales person. I don’t sell well.I sell myself well though.
I don’t like control over the person I love. In fact, I abhor it.I think that would be a horrible relationship in which I want to control what we did and when we did it, how much we did it… who we saw, what we ate, what movies we saw.That’s not a relationship to me.
The control I feel when I run is something entirely different.It is a very positive feeling. It is an experience where I have told myself what I’m going to do, I have scheduled it, and I am doing it.I am in control of my mind that has its own desires that sometimes show up right before I go running.…
Making myself run, insisting on running is a form of discipline I guess.I don’t accept the emotional mind’s excuses about the body being tired, a little bit sore, having better things to do…There is nothing better because I told myself I’m going to do it.I like to show my emotional mind that my logical mind is the boss. I don’t want to hear it whine about what else the body could be doing.
The body is running every other day – whether it’s raining or sunny, hot or cool. It’s running. That’s what we do every other day. There’s nothing to talk about – no questions, no excuses. The body is running on that schedule until I decide it isn’t.It’s not a decision that will be made before a run when the mind wants to bail out one time either. It needs made with some planning.I don’t think I’ll ever find a good reason to stop – so it’s likely to continue.
Beginning to Run
Starting to run is quite a game. I think I have a good way for you to get started if it’s what you want. As I said you can run for many reasons.You only need one.
Before I start to run on a schedule the body might not feel like it.In fact, it probably doesn’t.Why would it?It hasn’t been running prior for a little while and it needs some time to get into the routine – to condition the muscles, ligaments, tendons, breathing system and energy stores to meet the demand of running.
I like to trick the body and the mind into it.
If my logical mind told the “me” that I’m starting to run again naturally the emotional mind and the body will come up with excuses.I don’t listen.Instead, I convince the body and emotional mind that it’s nothing big.We’re not really going to run I tell them.
There’s not going to be any competition. We’re not running races. I’m not starting triathlons again!The body is relieved at this. The emotional mind doesn’t believe it – it’s been through this before.
I then tell them… We’re going for a walk in the park.That’s it. We’re walking.Any running that takes place is just a bonus.In fact, we’re NOT running unless everything is a green light and all three of us (logical mind, emotional mind, and body) are ready to go.
There’s no reason to run yet. We’re starting out.We start out walking.Regardless if the logical mind wants to run 3-5 miles immediately like it used to, we are just walking the first couple times.
“So – going to the park is not in question.We’re going.”
But, whether we run much – that IS a question. And, it doesn’t really matter since the logical part of my mind already won the game by making us all go to the park when I said we were going to.The logical mind is in control and that makes it happy.It’s good for me to keep this part of the mind happy since it seems to be the one that is most responsible for my state of mind. My “smarts” is where my talent is. My logical ability is the best feature of all three parts of the “me”. I need to nurture it and make it smile more than the other parts.
We Arrive at the Park
(My logical mind, my emotional mind, and my body)
We stretch a little bit. We see how the body is feeling. Stretching the quadriceps, calves, hamstrings, back, lower back, groin, triceps… swing the arms a bit as if I’m warming up for swimming…I take an inventory of the body as I’m stretching lightly. If there is some pain or a lot of tightness in the legs or even in the neck – I’ll likely just walk that day regardless how good I feel as I get into it. No sense pulling anything.Just starting out you can expect to pull some muscle, nerve, ligament… something – unless you’re very careful and attentive to the body.
I make the body GO somewhere, but I don’t make it do something if it’s not ready.Likewise when I was competing – I was very aware of every little pain in my legs, arms, back, neck. A little pain can quickly become a major pain that knocks you out of the running game for 2 weeks or more. Then you need to start all over. Re-motivate yourself.That should be avoided.
So we’re at the park and we start walking.When I’m first starting out I go to a place where there are very few people. Usually there is nobody around. That’s good for a couple reasons.
Number 1 – I am embarrassed that I’m not running 6 minute miles anymore. I’m running like 11 minute miles I’m guessing. That’s what it feels like. I’m not sure what it is exactly because I’ve never timed myself running so slow – what’s the point?!I know I’m doing grandpa miles and I don’t want anyone to see me doing no better than a senior citizen.
Number 2 – I am walking.Sometimes I’m running. I’m running until I don’t feel that it’s fun anymore and then I’m walking until my logical mind makes the body and emotional mind realize that there’s really no reason to not keep running.It’s FUN.There is nobody around to be critiquing my progress. I like that.
If it’s not fun then I’m walking.Seriously.You must make exercising fun. If it’s not fun then you’re doing something that you shouldn’t continue. If you’re running – walk for a bit.In Thailand there is no shyness about this. They run 100 yards and walk 200. They might alternate like this for 1 kilometer or they might go 5 kilometers like that. There is no competition among the Thai people when they are at a public park running among a hundred other people.They aren’t embarrassed to walk for a while!
That’s where I got this idea, Thailand.If nobody else is embarrassed, why would I be?
No matter what, it’s fun to make yourself go to a park and walk around and look at people and give yourself some quiet time to think about things on your mind. It frees the mind up from doing work and logical things and gives it some space.
Your emotional mind is happy because it’s seeing people and the outdoors. The body is happy because it’s feeling like it’s accomplishing something even by just walking 1km.The logical mind is happy because it knows this is all leading to something – running longer and longer distances and more feeling of control over the emotional mind and body!The logical mind is really psyched to be out there even if we’re not running all the time. It will come… it will come.
There can’t be any expectation about what you’re going to do when you go to the park.Tell your body and your emotional mind that you’re going to the park to give the brain a REST! Look at it as a positive – a reward.That way, you’re definitely going. You deserve a reward, right?That’s what I do… it makes it so much easier.
Just go to a park where there’s not 300 runners and just walk.That’s it… walk. If you feel like it, run for a bit.Only run if it’s fun. If your mind or body is really rebelling and starts telling you – this is no fun at all, stop and walk.Don’t run again until you really feel like all parts of the “you” are “GO!”
When you stick to a schedule of going to the park for a period of time you’ll notice that you’re running more and walking less. It might take a few weeks or you might jump into it sooner if you’re a natural.There will still be days that you don’t think all systems are “go” and you walk the entire time.You might walk for 20 minutes and decide that your body isn’t up to it. Maybe a muscle is feeling worse as you walk even. No matter, go home.Don’t put any requirements on your visit to the park.
The whole thing about exercise is that it must be FUN.Don’t do it if it’s not fun.If you do it at a very gradual pace I think that you’ll find it IS fun.If you try running for 2 months and you just don’t like it – even if you’re running ONLY when it’s fun for you and walking the rest of the time you might want to switch to a different exercise. Or, you might want to realize that walking can do it for you too – whatever reason you had for running – can be the same reason to be walking instead. No worries, don’t set up something in your mind that says
I MUST BE A RUNNER!
That’s ridiculous musturbation. There are runners, walkers, tennis players, racquetball players, bicycle riders, hikers, climbers, soccer players, swimmers, surfers, bodyboarders, windsurfers, kitesurfers, stationary bike riders, stairmasters, rollerbladers and skateboarders.Exercise is exercise. I don’t think it matters much WHY you are exercising – you can get the same things from any of the sports mentioned.
For me, running is special because it’s just me. It’s my body against the elements. I am making the body run up hills, down hills, through woods, into areas I’ve not been, it’s adventure. It’s accomplishment. It’s power. It’s control. Did you ever hear of “fartlek” running?
Parkour? More on these later… (in the running category links).
For me, running is pure bliss!I often imagine that I’m passing people as I run. I use this imagery that I’m passing all the people that I want to surpass with my business goals and my personal goals. I’m blowing right by them because some of them are standing still. They’re standing still because they probably don’t run. I see them up ahead of me and they’re going so slow… I’m going slow too – but you know what?I’m passing them!
This is another reason I like to run when there’s nobody around… I talk to them as I pass them, these imaginary business competitors…Steve Pavlina, Urban Buddha, Yokum Starok or whatever his name is… I’m the master of this race… and there can be no other winner.
I am ALWAYS the WINNER!
Best of Life!