Within the vast reaches of differences that define the human population, there are significant dividers which aren’t taught or even consciously chosen. Most people have heard the typical ones: there are people who like dogs or cats. People who love travel. They are so majestic.” The flip-side to that one is”I rode a horse once, and it off me.”
One of these dividers most have seen are the runners and non-runners. As one usually looks like a marathoner and the other doesn’t, they’re usually easy to spot. However, there’s a gray area occupied by those who used to run but don’t anymore, or wish they had started running when they were young and able, and did not, or the never-rans who, later in life, would like to give it a go.
Welcome to the grey area.
For those with the fundamental physical ability to kick it up into gear for longer than a mile or so, running can be a healthy, fulfilling, life-extending, and enjoyable pastime. One does not have to be a marathoner with 1% body fat and six-minute miles. Then start small if running is the goal. With the perfect strategy and planning, it can be done. In one possibilities?
Apologies for being blunt, but it is true. As children, skateboarding and tips on balance beams on gymnastics and BMX bicycles are walks in the park. Get into your forties thirties, and just a bit is waned by the drive for such pursuits. We can still ride a bike. Ride a horse. We can play with softball. Things like that. Luckily, humans only have two gears: run, and walk, using one foot at a time, with a period of suspension between strides. Anyone can run at some level. For runners, there are second-gear rates from a shuffle to a sprint – and most of us can claim one section of the speedometer for our own. Maybe. Are others passing us? Probably. While some are not, but are we out there running? Most definitely. It doesn’t matter what your rate will be. Being out there, taking laps around your home or laps around the local school track, you’re running.
So to begin, where are we today? “I do some walking here and there.” “I ran as a kid, but it’s been a long time.” Can you step up to join it and put a walker in front of you? And do over and over this again? That’s a start. We have limitations. Have a doctor if running might be something you can do and ask. Are your joints up to the task? Heart and lungs in a condition to improve? When it’s a”no” to questions in this way, can some lifestyle improvements make that happen? It is worth it to learn.
Most of us need a Starting Point; it’s huffing and puffing up the stairs today. Tomorrow, we will likely huff and puff just the same. It is going to get better, next week. Keep going until you don’t gasp. Work upward from there. Once you climb a flight of stairs with only slight elevation in pulse and breathing, get out there and walk somewhere. Walk onto a treadmill. Walk around the block. For the sake of heaven, walk the dog. Borrow one if you do not have a dog.
For the determined, walks can morph into speed-walks. Speed-walks can skip into jogs here and there. Soon the jogs will outdistance the pieces that are walking. Walk to warm up. Jog your program.
A major advantage that the young hold over those is strength. All-over strength involves core, legs, arms, and range of motion. We do not just get into an activity — we must have all systems in agreement. Even the system plays a bigger role in our later years. Find some power-bands and hand weights. Learn some basic Pilates moves for the muscles. Joints do their jobs more easily if they have support of muscle, and as we age, we tend to lose muscle. Simple arm curls with are terrific. Squats and lunges strengthen as well as warm leg muscles for action. Even a three-second plank is far better than no plank.
One can’t stress the need to look after your knees. As joints, they are the support structures that require the most time to accommodate to second gear. If you’re patient They’ll do so eventually. Increase distances a little. If your knees and you agree, add some speed as well as distance. Stretch each muscle group when you finish your run: calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.
For the more expensive, opt for shoes. Have so that legs and your toes are in the best alignment for your stride them fitted at a shoe shop. The perfect shoes can make the difference between knees that last a lifetime and knees which call it quits.
Short races that are regional are wonderful for goal-setting. Most allow paces, which is great for the wide spectrum of competitor abilities. Remember; there is a need for 10 or 5K etiquette. Yes, there is a code of ethics in racing. Register early. Show up in time to get your bib number. Warm up. Don’t wear perfume (please). Start from the group. Allow the rabbits charge off unhindered. Zip leashes and strollers can be regulars that are race-crowd as the audience isn’t being tripped up by the zip-leashes. Everyone there pays their race fees, so make the race as winnable of every runner as possible. And thank marshals and the officials who set tables and colors up, give out cups of water, and slice bananas for snacks. The majority of the time, they’re all volunteers.
So all of us have the capacity. Run the race your ability allows. Have a cool-down walk back to encourage when you’ve finished your run. We all have our own speeds, our own triumphs, our goals. That is a triumph, too if we cross the finish at a walk. But in the event that you’re able to run, keep going!