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Running for Beginners

Running for Beginners

In 2003, I said that the only time you’d ever find me running was if Godzilla were chasing me. Then, a year later, I ran a trail marathon in November 2004. Marathons are officially 26.2 miles. Since that point, I’ve falling quite off that wagon, due to work pressures, and some lifestyle changes, and I couldn’t run a single mile in a row. However, that’s about to change.

How does a fat guy get fit enough to run? Are you thinking of taking up running? Here’s some advice:

Trails versus Street

First, a word about trail running. Trails are softer which gives two immediate results. One, your knees thank you for less painful impact. Two, because trails are less solid than streets, you end up running slower than your maximum potential. This is great from my perspective, because I have a habit of overdoing it. I want the slowdown.

The Right Shoes

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It’s really important to us proper footwear. I learned firsthand all the crazy things that can go wrong. I will throw out there, however, that barefoot running is a really small niche interest right now, and I’ve tried it on beaches and on safe trails, and I loved it.

Every one is different and there are all kinds of articles out there for selecting shoes. Just know that you need new shoes, you need them to be really well fit for your needs (for instance, you take a larger shoe size for running than you do for casual wear), and that you need the right kind of support for the way your feet land. Google around for this, or email me. I’ll help you further, if you’d like.

Run / Walk Programs

When I had my first running breakthrough, it was this: you are still a runner if you have to slow down and walk for a bit. John Bingham’s great book, NO NEED FOR SPEED, was an excellent resource for me in learning how to run. All of John’s products are great that way, and “The Penguin,” as he likes to call himself, is a wealth of knowledge unto himself.

Standard Disclaimer: see your physician before trying this or any other program. This is just for informational use and doesn’t constitute something worth doing. Worked for me.

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Here’s a sample of a run/walk program that I mentioned to a friend the other day. The “R” stands for running, and the “W” stands for walking. The number is for how many minutes of each one might do. I do this in multiples of 30 minutes for the first few weeks. As time progresses, I consider adding more minutes (maybe another cycle of the run/walk program) into the mix. The basic premise is to slowly build yourself up to running more and walking less. Each line represents a week of training:

Warm up by walking briskly for 2 minutes, maybe 3. Then, start this:

  • 1R , 4W x 6 times. Week 1
  • 1R , 3W x 7 times. Week 2
  • 2R, 3W x 6 times. Week 3
  • 2R, 2W x 7 times. Week 4
  • 3R, 3W x 5 times. Week 5
  • 3R, 2W x 6 times. Week 6
  • 3R, 1W x 7 times. Week 7
  • 4R, 2W x 5 times. Week 8
  • 4R, 1W x 6 times. Week 9
  • FULL Running for 30 minutes.

If you have to skip a running minute or two early on, do so. Just walk briskly and catch your breath. Don’t be religious about this. Make it work for you.

How FAST?

When I’m saying running, this is basically a step above brisk walking. Think of it as a controlled shuffle. Focus on turning your feet over quickly, and not running fast. Just keep thinking about turning your feet over, which should be slightly longer strides than if your shoes were tied together, but not big huge gaping stretches. With a run/walk program, the trick is to keep the “difference” between the running and the walking down to a minimum, so when you’re walking and catching your breath a bit, make sure that’s still a brisk walk.

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Don’t worry about speed. Get your distance and your duration up. Then, speed will come out of your endurance and your toning.

Mileage versus Minutes

I’m a bigger fan of minutes versus miles, but as you get faster and better, and more confident in your running, you might switch. The best thing to realize is: unless you’re trying out for a world-class team, there is no official right or wrong way to do it, only strong suggestions and passionate people on either side of every possible schism one could experience. This is how *I* did it the first time, and how I plan to do it next.

Hydration, Eating

First, get a lexan water bottle. The famous brand name is Nalgene. They are recycling number 7, in case you’re being offered a ripoff. In the US, they cost around $7 on the low end. But why? Because those bottles handle bacteria way better than when you re-use your disposable water bottles, and they’re nicer on the environment. Having them around makes you want to drink more. And other hacks I haven’t considered.

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A note about eating: do so a half hour or so before you run. An hour’s best, but fit it into your schedule. What’s good to eat (and NOT good to eat) before a run? High carbs and low glycemic index food, like energy bars (CLIF Bar is my personal favorite), Oatmeal is easy, even the instant kind. What NOT to have are things high in fats, like sausage. Peanut butter is usually a great energy food, but keep it to maybe 1 table spoon along with a slice of multigrain bread.

The point is, it’s important to have energy in the tank. The more you have ready for your run, the better you’ll feel while trying to run.

Your Advice

I’m open to your advice. One thing that’s certain about things like running: you’ll get about 50/50 responses to the above where some will say, “This is full of crap” or “that’s not running, that’s jogging” or whatever. You know what? YOU are the person qualified to tell whether advice works for you. If it’s running to you, it’s running to me. But what else will you add? I’m looking for tips before I get out all the lead and start running this week.

–Chris Brogan produces a weekly audio podcast called Fat Guy Gets Fit. He’s looking for more subscribers. Don’t make him beg.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnancy in life, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help.

Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

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1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths.

Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation.

What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem.

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If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave.

Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future.

These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

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4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’re 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward.

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Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years.

On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

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Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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