In an effort to use a bit of my university education on this blog, I’m going to start this series of posts about running. They could be about anything, but it is also a way for me to document my progress, and make me a little more accountable if I fall off the bandwagon. So I’m going to start with why I started running and a few of my basic necessities!
My Background in Running
Now, I have never, ever been a runner. As a teen, I played netball upwards of 5 days a week. So I was never a terribly unfit person. However, I often played positions (like GS and GK) that didn’t require long distance running, rather many short sprints. Long distance running was never something I did often. And when I did, it didn’t enjoy it. Then came university. Studying Exercise Science, a high level of activity was expected. I completed 5km runs, and even a mini triathlon, but still, running was not enjoyable. Outside of uni, I took up pole dancing, which was incredible for both my weight and my strength, but not something that built up my aerobic fitness. When I tried to run, lower leg pain was often what made me stop long before I was puffed out. Shin splints so bad, that I couldn’t flex my ankle without pain was something that discouraged me. But I can tell you now, two weeks into my new program, I am loving running. I’m still having bouts of low motivation, but once I drag myself out there, I’m so happy I did. So now that you know a little more about my background of running, I’m going to share with you my biggest essentials for enjoying running. Some of these may not work for you, but I stress, working out what is good and what is bad about your exercise routine is key to keeping it up.
Now for me, this was the number one thing that changed my perception of running. Every pair of runners I had owned previously had led to numb toes, sore joints and muscles and probably worst of all, shin splints. I couldn’t last 5 minutes on a treadmill without having to stop because I was in an uncomfortable amount of pain. Even worse if I tried to walk or run on pavement. I would spend days in agony not being able to walk properly. I didn’t want to run in fear of injuring myself more. Then in one biomechanics class we discussed the physiology of barefoot running and how Nike had created a shoe to encourage it. I was intrigued, but even with a wealth of information (that could be a blog post in itself) and personal accounts from classmates, I dismissed the idea. But when I was in the market for new runners, I decided to give the Nike Free 3.0 V3 runners a chance. And to be honest, I’ve never looked back. Zero shin pain and I can keep going for a walk/run upwards of 30 mins without feeling uncomfortable. I know from previous fittings that I have a fairly neutral foot, so buying these online was fairly safe for me. Now this is where I say get your foot fitted by a professional. A podiatrist or an exercise physiologist can study your gait (the way you walk) to work out if your feet have special requirements. I also know the team at Athlete’s Foot have extensive training on shoe fitting, so they are also an excellent place to go (and it won’t cost you any extra!). But I can’t stress to you enough how important finding the correct fitting shoe is to your running experience. My change in shoe is what is still keeping me running.
My other issue with running was that I tried to go too hard too fast, and then got discouraged because I was getting nowhere. Then I came across the c25k program, as well as the Zombies’ Run 5k program. Knowing that interval training is really good at improving A screenshot of my latest workout on Zombies 5k[/caption]
Now this essential is a little more subjective. I enjoy running to a beat and often music can help me push a little further than I would usually go. But I know many people who enjoy the serenity of running with just their thoughts. I create a playlist of very upbeat songs that make me want to run. Coincidentally, when I now hear these songs, I want to go for a run. But I’m not really complaining. I want to compile a list of workout songs for a post, so if you have a particular favourite, do let me know!
Now it’s your turn. What are your running essentials?