It’s a beautiful sunny day and you decide that it’s jogging time. It’s not too hot; just the right temperature. You pull up your tight spandex pants, put on your Nike socks and shoes, get your iPod and headphones in place (after you update your music library), do a quick stretch and you’re ready to go.
You push open your front door and fly out like a bullet as the air rushes up your nostrils. Ten seconds later as you turn around the first corner of the street you live on, you feel a sharp pain in your lower abdomen. “Shit,” you think.
You might even say it out loud. As you fight the pain, you find yourself running back in the direction of your house, up the steps and onto the couch. Total run time: 2 minutes and 25 seconds, you officially suck.
Don’t be that guy, who prepares all day, even goes to buy a new iPod, just to prepare for a run that takes 2 minutes. Why did this guy in the story fail? Several reasons, let’s start here:
1. Plan your run:
You don’t live in a movie. Don’t think that you’ll just go outside, the theme song will play and you will simply be able to run for hours. What will happen is that you will be busy thinking about where you are, stopping occasionally to change your playlist, checking maps, adjusting your armband, or whatever.
Before you go out, set a path a pace and a time. A path can be generally where you’re going. A pace is how fast you run. If the guy in the story planned his pace, then he could have changed his two minute run into a twenty minute jog. Even a half hour brisk walk is more productive than a two minute run.
If you’re out of shape, it’s best to slowly work up to a run by starting with a very slow pace. Try to keep the amount of time you are out as a constant and only increase your pace. Once you’re route gets boring, change it. If you get to that point, you could expand on your current route. When you are planning your run, make it pass by water fountains and try to run in areas with other people that work out, for the sake of motivation. That truly helps. Also, look for great scenery to distract you along the way.
Breathing is the most important aspect of running (aside from not being paralyzed from the waist down) and without a solid breathing technique, running becomes more difficult that it should be. All of the best runners in the world use breathing techniques for a reason. The reason is that better breathing means that more oxygen can get to your muscles. When you are running try to focus on taking deep breaths. This will bring more air into your muscles. Not quick short breaths, even if your are gasping for air. It may seem counter-intuitive, but slower breaths will make you perform better. It will also train your lungs and your whole respiratory system to improve. Really focus on your breath, not on work, not on social drama, on your breath.
Have fun running like a champ!