A healthy perspective – Running

A healthy perspective - Running

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:

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Running

 

 

 

Kara Goucher’s running for women : from first steps to marathons

 

 

 

Born to run : a hidden tribe, superathletes, and the greatest race the world has never seen

 

 

Michael Perkins

Supervisor of Digital Services at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. BFA Graduate from Washburn University. Painter of the Kids Library Mural. Father and Husband.

  • Autumn Friedli

    Right now, next to the running books (796.42 area), there is a handout on training for your first 5K. Its a fairly simple 9 week program.

  • http://www.tscpl.org Michael Perkins

    Thanks Autumn this will be helpful information for individuals looking to start.

  • Darla

    I have never considered myself a runner either, and finally in my mid 40s I have found that I enjoy it as much as any other exercise. As a working mother I cannot agree with you more about getting away from all of my responsibilities on the road.
    But I have found that if you increase too fast injuries will pop up so definitely go slow and progress slowly.
    There are also a ton of websites regarding running.

  • Joe

    Loved the article Michael. Totally agree with you on the getting away and destressing. The other great thing about running is you can also do it with friends.

  • Dave Coleman

    Good stuff Michael. I remember feeling a lot of what you are feeling. I miss running, but 3 knee problems have probably meant Ive run my last mile. So I walk and bike, its okay but definetely not the same feeling..

  • http://www.tscpl.org Lissa Staley

    I don’t know that running will ever be my exercise of choice, but I hope to use some of your enthusiasm to push myself a bit harder with more walking exercise (although sometimes I am pushing a 2-kid stroller or carrying a 30 pound kid, so that comes with it’s own challenges!) Great perspective, Michael – Thank you!

  • http://www.tscpl.org Michael Perkins

    Darla, great tips and I completely agree that you need to progress slowly. Thanks for the comment.

    Joe, yes I enjoy running 5Ks for that very reason. It is fun (even if you are getting passed).

    Dave, I know what you mean. My knees have started to bother me so I have changed the way that I run. Hopefully that will help. I may switch to bike riding if it continues.

    Lissa, It has been awhile since I have pushed a stroller but I know what carrying 30 pounds feels like. A kid attached to your hip can be quite a workout for your legs, back and arms. Great job!