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Between Mind and Body

The Design of a Run

Tips and Tricks for New Runners
The Design of a Run
Published on November 3, 2011

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I have participated in two half-marathons and one 5 K race in my life. My post-race exercise regimen looks the same post-race. It is inevitable that after a consistent running routine and race, I take a few days and/or weeks off from running. Now, about a month after the Omaha Half-Marathon, I am beginning to begin running again.

If you have ever considered becoming a runner before, this is the perfect time to begin running. Yes, as the temperatures dip into lower digits, the daylight hours shrink,and we experience some hard frosts, this is the time to become a runner.

I have never considered myself a runner. Although I come from a family of avid exercisers and played soccer, I never considered myself a runner.

My running memories are full of those elementary school mile run assessments (aka the longest run for a short eight-year-old) and three-mile “fun” runs for the high school soccer team. (I’m not sure why those runs were “fun” as I have never considered post-run vomiting to be fun).

I associated running with pain and/or punishment – you run until your legs hurt and your lungs burn and you run because you ate too much, too bad or too late.

I experienced glimpses of enjoyable running – long runs through the country roads of Wilmore, Kentucky, during my college years. My quick and short runs through different streets in Memphis, Tennessee, during my graduate studies.

Now, living in Omaha, I might be ready to admit that I am a runner and I enjoy running. So, are you ready to become a runner?

If you are just beginning, I recommend the popular Couch to 5K training.* This nine-week program provides beginners who want to be able to run 5k, 3.1 miles or 30 minutes a schedule of various workouts to follow.

So, if you still need me to convince you on why this is the perfect time to become a runner or start a running program, here are some lighthearted ways that you could find some incentives or motivation.

Temperature and Fashion

From the scorching, humid days of summer, frigid days of winter to the temperamental days of spring and fall, the temperatures in Omaha range from perfect to downright unbearable. But varying temperatures and outdoor activities mean fun, functional fitness fashion. My summer fitness fashion consists of running outfits with wicking material, headbands and good socks. If you find that fashion motivates you to run, fall and winter running provides some fun outfits. Also, when running before/after the sun makes its entrance/exit, make sure that you are visible to other runners/cyclists/cars.

Daylight Hours, SAD and mental health

If fashion doesn’t motivate you (it probably isn’t the best motivator), improving your mental health could be quite the motivator. As fall arrives and our daylight hours decrease, running outdoors could provide you with some essential doses of Vitamin D. I have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and low levels of vitamin D. Fall running forces me to engage with the sun and its precious doses of vitamin D.

Frost and Allergies

I have allergies. I have bad allergies. I mean seriously. I need a hard frost. Fall gives me a hard frost and clearer air to breathe while running. Enough said. Oh, and one more thing, the changing colors of the leaves provide a beautiful background for running.

I still don’t love running. I like it enough where I do it pretty regularly. But, I’m pretty sure that running loves me.

* There are a number of similar programs available online. Please consult with your doctor/physician before beginning any type of exercise program.

** I am also a runner on a budget, so I enjoy finding good deals on some of these clothes and running accessories at stores like Half of Half, TJ Maxx and others. There are some items that I would recommend purchasing from a running store such as Peak Performance. I would also recommend getting a running assessment to find the perfect shoe for your feet and running practice.

Jara_BI believe in the power of stories and I strive to provide everyone access to hearing and telling those stories.

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