Running is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get fit. We asked Running Coach Tina Murphy to blast the most popular excuses and to give 10 reasons why we all should be running.
Starting running, or any other regular exercise routine, is hard. The biggest hurdle to overcome often is finding motivation, getting off that couch and getting started. It’s so easy to make excuses but most of them are just that – excuses. Here are some of the most common ones I hear all the time:
1. I hate running
You’re not the only one. A lot of people hate even the thought of running. Many people have tried running and given up after couple of weeks because they hate it and/or develop injuries. This is because they decide to start running and force themselves to run for 20 to 30 minutes on day one. It is unpleasant, even painful and they feel achy and sore the next day. Many also fail to warm up, cool down and stretch properly which leads to further aches and pains (some even injure themselves while stretching incorrectly!) and weak lungs/poor breathing technique makes it all the more painful. Frankly, it’s no wonder people hate running!
The good news is that it is possible to enjoy running! You need to start slowly and make sure you don’t over do it. In the beginning, running for just 1 minute is hard work for most people, so why attempt to run for 20? The key is to end each session feeling like you could’ve done a little bit more - you’ll feel good about yourself and it’ll be much easier to find the motivation to go for a run (or run-walk) again. This method is also far better for your body and you’re less likely to develop injuries and aches and pains.
2. I’m not fit enough to run
If you’ve not done any aerobic exercise since you left school, of course you’re not fit enough to run a marathon! However, you don’t need to run a marathon tomorrow, not even a 10k or a 5k. If you can only run for 1 minute (or even less) then that’s enough for you for today. You need start where you’re at. That’s what Jenny Wood Allen did when she took up running for the first time in her life at the age of 71, after 20 years of no aerobic exercise. She went on to finish more than 30 marathons before turning 90 and in 2007, at the age of 96, she was still running 50 miles a week.
3. I don’t have the time
This is one of my favourite excuses. People lead busy lives and it’s difficult to fit in exercise. Yet, for many of us, it’s not a problem to find time to watch TV for few hours every evening, spend a few evenings out drinking every week, spend hours online or have a looong leisurely lunches every Sunday.
At the same time, possibly the busiest man in the world, President Obama, finds time to work out for 90 minutes every day. So, for most people, this is a poor excuse. All it takes is a bit of discipline and better time management skills and most of us can find plenty of time to exercise. The great thing about running is that it takes much less time than many other forms of exercise because you can start and finish at your own doorstep and do itwhenever it suits you, be it at 7am or at midnight.
4. It’s always raining/it’s too cold
Once you start exercising outdoors, you’re likely to find that, actually, it doesn’t always rain and we rarely get really heavy rain. All you need is a shower proof jacket, maybe a baseball cap, and you’re good to go. You’re likely to find, also, that a little rain is often very refreshing, it keeps you cool!
As for cold, all you need to do is wrap up warm. Get yourself some (thermal) leggings, a fleece hat and a scarf and you won’t notice the cold. Running in the cold is good for you, it improves your circulation and strengthens your immune system, which is exactly what we all need to stay healthy in the winter time!
6. I tried running before but I hurt my back/knee/hip
Most likely, you’ve over trained – tried to run too much too soon or increased your mileage too fast – or, there’s something wrong with your posture or technique/form. These are the two most common reasons for injuries. Failing to warm up or cool down properly can also lead to injuries and not taking proper care of pre-existing issues or injuries, such as short hamstrings or an old knee injury.
The point is that most injuries, aches and pains can be prevented and/or healed by getting to know your body’s limits, working on your posture and form and doing relevant supporting exercises. For example, if you’re prone to back problems, it is likely that you need to strengthen your core,improve your posture, work on opening your hips, lengthen your hamstrings and make sure you build your mileage up very slowly.
Yoga teaches us to be humble, to respect the limits of our bodies and to be kind and patient with ourselves. I think this applies to running as well. There is no point in punishing your body (and mind) by running through the pain. The old saying ‘no pain no gain’ is not always true, in fact, in this case it’s more the opposite!
See also 1. I hate running.
Now that we’ve dealt with the excuses – here’s 10 good reasons to start running: