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How to Start Running – Without Feeling Like a Failure

How to Start Running – Without Feeling Like a Failure

runner on beach

    Do you sometimes wish you were fitter? And maybe slimmer? I do. In fact, I’m determined to lose 7 kg in four weeks and get really fit. But how to get fit in a hurry – without spending hours at the gym?

    One of the fastest ways to get fit is to start running.

    It can be daunting if you’ve never run before. Especially if you have friends, colleagues or family members who talk casually about how they run 7 miles each morning before breakfast. (Don’t you sometimes want to throttle them?)

    I just spent three weeks with my family and two of them, my brother and my niece, thought nothing of running for an hour-and-a-half after spending an exhausting day stumbling through thick rain forest. It made me feel like a fitness failure…

    In the end, I started to run too. Because running is great for getting fit fast. There are some important advantages of running as a fitness strategy:

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    1. It boosts cardiovascular fitness.
    2. It tones your whole body because so many muscle groups are involved when you run.
    3. Weight-bearing exercise, such as running, is especially good in promoting bone density and protecting against osteoporosis, which affects men as well as women.
    4. Running is a natural movement. The body is designed to be able to run.
    5. As one of the most vigorous exercises out there, running is an efficient way to burn calories and drop pounds.

    Here are some tips that will help you develop running:

    1. Buy good shoes

    It’s worth going to a specialty shop to buy a pair of running shoes. Make sure that the salesperson looks at the shape and arch of your foot to figure out the best shoes for you. The reason good shoes are important is because it will soften the impact and protect your joints.

    2. Take it slow

    When you start running, it doesn’t matter how slow you go. Remember that your body needs to get used to new movement.

    3. Ease into running with interval training.

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    The best way to get fit fast is through interval training. This means short burst of high intensity exercise alternating with recovery periods. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, more calories are burned in short, high intensity exercise.

    Try alternating 5 minutes of walking and one minute of running for twenty minutes. As you get fitter, you can lengthen the periods of running. Once you get used to running, you can alternate slow jogging with fast sprints.

    4. Warm up first

    It’s important to warm up your body before running. Otherwise running will feel very hard and your body will moan and groan. Walking is a great way to warm up the body. Stride out and pump your arms. Start with a medium paced walk and then speed up until you start to sweat. Once your body is warm, you are ready to run.

    5. Use correct running technique

    Beginners like me find it difficult to relax while running. Keep your head up and your lower arms in hip height, and run without bouncing. It all helps to work your body more efficiently. Check out this video about correct running technique.

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    6. Run with others

    A great way to keep up your motivation is to run with others. See if a colleague or a friend is willing to come running with you. Set an interval schedule for your run and stick to it.

    7. Keep an exercise diary

    Keep a record of your new exercise routine. Write down each day what kind of exercise you have done. A great way to track your growing fitness is by measuring your resting pulse before you get up in the morning. As you get fitter, your resting pulse will get lower.

    8. Add strength exercises to the mix

    Building strength in your legs will help you to run. A simple way to build your leg muscles is by doing squats. Stand with feet a little more than shoulder width apart. As you squat, keep your feet on the ground and swing your arms to the front in order to keep your balance. Start with 3 sets of 10 squats but don’t get carried away. If you do too many at one time, you might have difficulty walking the next day! As you get fitter, you can add more sets to your squat routine.

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    9. Add a cool-down period after exercise

    It’s important for the body to cool down after running. The best way is to walk at a medium pace until your heart-rate returns to normal.

    10. Stretch after running

    It’s a good practice to stretch after running because it keeps your body flexible. Watch this short video on which stretches to do after running.

    If you follow the ten points above, you will become a runner – without feeling like a failure. Remember that you can start running at any age. Bob Hayes took up running when he was 60. After a little while, he decided to enter a 5km fun-run and his son gave him his first pair of trainers. He said afterwards, “I wasn’t feeling as fit as I would have liked to. Perhaps age is catching up on me?” Yeah, right!

    Fast forward 20 years…
    At age 80, Bob completed his tenth 50-mile ultra-marathon in Montana and has made running history. He said afterwards:

    “I’m in the best shape of my life.”

    If you follow these 10 tips, you will get into the swing of running. Soon you will feel your body tone up and slim down in response to the exercise. Best of all, you’ll begin to feel confident, healthy, and attractive.

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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