I am not a runner but in 1982 I tried running the mile in track. I was in Junior High and I finished last in most races. By the time I finished the race most of the runners had already showered and were on their way home. I think my best time back then was 12 or 13 minutes (yes you can almost walk it faster). I think I hold the record in Kansas for the worst recorded time in competition. No joke. The current men’s record holder in the mile is Hicham El Guerrouj with a time of 3:43.13 minutes. Impressive.
When I was running track back then I thought the mile was an extremely long distance and very boring. Fast forward 26 years and my opinion has changed quite a bit. I am still not a good runner, but I really enjoy getting out and pounding the pavement. Am I older and wiser?… maybe. Lost some brain cells in the past 30 years?… more likely. After my heart attack in 2008 I began to run again at the YMCA. I started running/walking on the treadmill and started to push myself to go longer and faster. At that time I was still concerned that I was going to have another heart attack so I wore a heart rate monitor to track how I was doing. I remember the first time that I passed the mile mark jogging on the treadmill without stopping. I was absolutely thrilled with myself. I eventually made it to 2 miles, then 3, 4 and so on. I eventually quit the Y and started exercising at home. I began to run on the street which is an entirely new experience compared to the treadmill. I worked up slowly to longer distances, eventually eclipsing the 8 mile mark for a run. I have since run multiple 5Ks and one trail 5K, the Warrior Dash in Kansas City in 2011. I now average a 9 minute mile when I run. Not great but much better than what I ran in the 80’s.
What I like most about running is it gives me time to be with my thoughts. No interruptions. No mowing, dishes or laundry to do. They will be waiting for me when I get back. It’s just me, some tunes, fresh air, and the road beneath my feet. The other nice thing about running is that you don’t need a lot of equipment. Just a good pair of supportive shoes. If you want to begin running you should ease into it. By doing a blend of walking and jogging you can gradually prepare your body to handle the rigors of running longer distances. Make sure when you start out that you give yourself a chance to rest by not running every day. By giving your body time to recover you will be more successful in the long run (pun intended). Eventually you will be running 5Ks, 10Ks, marathons and ultra-marathons (50 miles or more). If you are a runner tell me below what you like most about it. We all have a story to share.
For more information about how to include running into your fitness plan check out some of these great books from the library: