There are many dividers within the huge range of human differences. These dividers aren\’t taught, or even deliberately selected. The most common ones are: There are people who love dogs is and cats and people who don\’t. There are people who travel and others who prefer to stay at home. One more: \”I love riding horses.\” They are so majestic. They\’re so majestic.\”
These dividers are runners and non-runners. It\’s easy to spot them as they look like marathoners and the other doesn\’t. There is also a grey area for those who ran but aren\’t able to anymore or who wish they could have started running earlier in their lives.
Welcome to the gray zone.
Running can be a great way to stay fit, have fun, and keep your body healthy. You don\’t need to be a marathoner or have 1% body fat. Start small if running is your goal. Is it possible to become a 10K participant by simply walking around the block occasionally? It is possible with the right strategy, planning and execution. Are you in your forties and not sure what the future holds? Continue reading to find out.
As we all know, the \”world of sport\” shrinks with each passing year. Sorry for being harsh, but it is true. Skateboarding, tricks on BMX bikes, and balance beam gymnastics are all easy for kids. As you get older, or even in your thirties and forties, the desire to pursue such activities diminishes. You can still ride a bicycle. You can even ride a horse. Softball is possible. You can do things like this. Humans only have two modes of movement: one, walking, and one, running. There is a brief suspension between each step. Anybody can run at any level. There are two speeds for runners: a shuffle and a sprint. Each of us can take one section of this speedometer. Is this a race we won? Perhaps. Perhaps. Most likely. But, are we running when others aren\’t? Yes. It doesn\’t really matter how fast you run. Running is running. You can run laps around your home or around the school track.
Let\’s start by asking where we are today. \”I have never run before.\” \”I do some walking here, there.\” \”I used to run as a child, but it\’s been a while.\” Put a walker in front and get up to help it. Do that repeatedly. This is a good start. All of us have physical limitations. Ask your doctor if running is something you might be able to do. Are your joints ready for the challenge? Are your heart and lungs in good condition? Are lifestyle changes possible to make this happen? It\’s worthwhile to find out.
All of us need a starting point; today, it\’s huffing up the stairs. Tomorrow we will likely continue to puff and huff. It will get even better next week. Continue to work until you stop gasping. From there, work your way up. After you have climbed a moderately steep flight of stairs, your pulse and breathing will be normal. Now it\’s time to get up and go. Walking on a treadmill. Walk around the block. Walk the dog, for goodness sake. You can borrow a dog if you don\’t own one.
Speed-walks are for the more determined. Speed-walks can be transformed into jogs. The jogs will soon outdo the walking. Warm up by walking. Jog along your route. Cool down by walking. This is important because your body must adapt.
The advantage that the young have over others is their general strength. All-over strength includes the ability to move your arms, legs and core. We don\’t get to just jump into an activity at later ages; we need to have all our systems in sync. In our later years, even the digestive system plays an important role. Get some hand weights and power-bands. You can learn basic Pilates moves to strengthen your core muscles. The support provided by surrounding muscles is essential for joint function. As we age, we lose more muscle. Give your joints a chance and keep your muscles strong. Simple arm curls using light hand-weights work well. Lunges and squats both strengthen the leg muscles, as well as prepare them for action. A three-second plank can be better than none at all.
It is essential to take care of your knees. They are the support structures most affected by second gear, and they need to be able to adjust to their new position. If you\’re patient, they will eventually adapt to second gear. You can increase distances by increasing them slowly. If your knees are in agreement, increase speed and distance. After you\’ve finished your run, stretch every muscle group: quadriceps and glutes, calves, quadriceps and hamstrings.
The more expensive shoes are better. Make sure to have them fitted in a shoe shop so your feet and legs are in the right alignment for your stride. Shoes can make the difference in whether your knees last a lifetime or are prone to breaking down.
For goal-setting, short local races can be a great option. Many allow walk-jog paces which is great for all levels of competitors. Remember that there is a need to maintain 10K or 5K etiquette. Racing has a code. Register early. Register early to receive your bib number. Get warm. Make sure to brush your teeth. Please don\’t use cologne. You belong in the same group as your fellow members. Let the rabbits run wild. As long as the zip-leashes don\’t cause any injury, strollers and zip leashes are race-crowd regulars. Make sure everyone pays their race fees. Thank you to the marshals and officials who set up tables, provide shade, serve water and cut bananas as finishing snacks. They are almost always volunteers.
All of us can run. Run as fast and far as you can. Thank those who cheered you on along the course (there are always a few). After you have finished your run, cool down and walk back to cheer on those still striving for the finish line banner. Each person has their own pace, goals, and triumphs. It is also a victory if we reach the finish line at a walk. If you are able to run, go on!