“The best runner leaves no tracks.” ~Tao Te Ching
I don't think we can find work we love, connect with community, or have fun if our health is in shambles. Living a simpler life has given me the opportunity and time to focus on improving my physical health. We only get one body and one mind. Taking care of both are key ingredients to health and happiness.
Are you looking for inspiration to get your move on? Then this article is for you. I hope the tips below will inspire you to lace up your shoes and go for a run.
1. Start slow.
So many of us rush everywhere. I keep wondering what the big hurry is. Going slow isn't a bad thing. Especially if you are new to running. If you want to get up off the couch and go for a run, don't do a 10 mile loop you're first time out. Start with a half mile or mile and slowly increase your mileage over time.
For instance, I've been running for the last few years and just started running consistently again. But I'm not going fast. I'm taking my time, building up my mileage slowly, and listening to my body.
2. Incorporate yoga into your routine.
Setting aside 10 minutes, before and after your run, to practice yoga will loosen up your muscles and help you warm up (along with cooling down).
Long time readers know that I'm a huge fan of yoga. By incorporating yoga into a daily routine you'll feel 20 times better. And you don't have to practice yoga for hours everyday to get feel better, stronger, and less stressed.
3. Set a few goals.
Setting a goal is helpful, but don't let that goal consume you. For example, you might want to run a marathon in 4 hours. It's okay if you don't meet that time. Something to strive for while training is a good thing, but it's not the end of the world if you don't meet a specific goal. At least, you aren't sitting in front of the TV or surfing the internet.
4. Be present.
Running with music isn't a bad thing. However, it's worth leaving your iPod at home once in a while. See how you feel on you're runs without music or podcasts.
I used to consistently plug into my iPod and run through the park. But ever since we moved to Portland I've been walking (and now running) without any music. I feel more in tune with my body, pay attention to my running form, and actually notice the birds chirping.
5. What about shoes?
A few months ago I purchased a pair of Vibram Fivefingers and I absolutely love them. I resisted buying these weird looking shoes for a long time because they are expensive and trendy. But after trying on over 5 pairs of running shoes and not finding anything that fit my feet, Logan suggested the Vibram's. I absolutely love them. (And they only cost me $11.00 thanks to REI coupons and rebates).
I haven't started running in my Vibram's yet, but I've been biking, walking, and puttering around in the house with them. I don't think shoes are bad. But now that I'm walking around in my Vibram's I've been much more aware of my posture, balance, and where my feet land on the concrete. In essence, I feel more connected to my surroundings.
I highly recommend looking into Vibram's. Remember to slowly incorporate these shoes into your routine. Leo, from Zen Habits, pointed out:
"When you first start running barefoot, your feet will be weak, so take it very slowly at first. It takes weeks and months to build up the strength necessary for faster or longer running, but after awhile, your feet get stronger than ever before. There are numerous studies still being done on this, so don’t draw any long-term conclusions yet. My thinking is to give it a try, and see how it works."
I agree! Give it a try and see how you feel.
6. Wear simple clothes.
Running doesn't require expensive clothes or fancy gear. Run in clothing that you're comfortable in. More than likely you have what you need in your closet.
7. Listen to your body.
In December 2008, I ran my first marathon and it was an incredible experience. However, since I was a rookie runner my post-marathon experience was rough. I ended up hurting myself and for the last year I've struggled with a variety of injuries.
Pay attention to your aches and pains. If you don't take it slow and listen to your body, you'll end up on the side lines. And that isn't fun.
8. You were born to run.
“Children run before they can walk.” ~Tarahumara saying
I recently finished an amazing book called Born to Run. The book explored the life and running habits of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s Copper Canyon; some of the best distance runners in the world.
After reading McDougall's story I realized we really are born to run. Think back to when you were 5 years old and running and jumping all over the playground. What happened to that little kid? When did so many adults forget the joy of running? Running doesn't have to hurt. It's a beautiful art and a wonderful way to balance your physical and emotional health.
Lace up your shoes. Head out the door and start running.
With the change in season, running is an activity many people are writing about. Be sure to read these remarkable articles and books:
- Born to Run – an amazing, inspiring and beautiful story about the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s Copper Canyons. Topics covered include health, science, the shoe industry, and more. Read this book.