How to start running, for those who can’t stand it
They say that running is almost akin to yoga – a meditative, almost spiritual activity that allows one to drift away from the thought-consuming concerns of daily life and focus on the now.
I am, unfortunately, of the few that doesn’t believe it that – not so much because I don’t believe in meditation (I do) or in activities that both keep your mind on and off things (I do) but because running, for the life of me, has always been a fickle friend.
There was never really any fun in having to do laps around the gym – both in high school and college – because I had to, and because it was warm up for the sports I actually signed up for. I had a “running phase,” as most people did in the early 2010s, but I put that phrase in quotes for good reason.
Fast forward to 2019 and I’m still no fan of running. At the same time, however, I must begrudgingly admit that it’s still one of the cheapest, easiest, and most cost-efficient ways to keep active.
At the same time, just like most physical activities, it can be a tad bit difficult to sustain.
“Running is for everyone,” Ian Banzon, a tri-athlete, medical doctor and Nike+ Run Club coach tells Rappler.
So how do you stick to it? Here’s a few tips we culled during Nike Philippines’ test-run of their latest running shoe, the Nike Joyride:
Go at your own pace. “Running is something basic – you can do it anywhere, anytime… you don’t get much to get started,” says Ian, one of the coaches during the event.
And it’s true – unlike many fitness fads that come and go, running requires little equipment. All you need is yourself (we’d hope so), a good pair of running shoes, comfortable clothes, a nice place to run, and water.
“You can go as easy or hard, long or quick, as you feel like.”
I know a place? It’s obviously important too that you find a safe and fun space to run – a tall order in a megacity like Metro Manila that’s notorious for being pedestrian un-friendly.
Those who live and work in the BGC/Makati area luck out – Nike+ Run Club, for instance, runs a lot around the Bonifacio Global City area. After all, the sidewalks are generally well-paved (and existent, at the very least), the air is relatively clean, and streets are well-lit.
In Metro Manila, sports complexes, private parks, gated villages, and campuses would be good bets to find a good (and safe!) run route.
But the very fact that we lack open, safe spaces to run, however, is another issue altogether.
Set your own goals. Ian recommends setting workout goals for yourself. “Be it running 5 kilometers or just 30 minutes straight. It’s good to have a goal you are working toward with each run,” she says.
Coach Ian took this literally during our run – especially when things got tough for this lampain. It can be as simple as sustaining a run all the way to the next stoplight or running the entire length of a block.
Your goals, your pace – don’t let anyone dictate otherwise!
Preps matter. Again, the basics aren’t a lot – lightweight clothes, sports socks, running shoes. Bring water or make sure there’s a water stop along your route. Hydration is important, especially if you’re running while the sun is out. It can also help to map your route out beforehand.
But if you're feeling a little more adventurous than usual, go ahead and wing it. Keep your safety in mind at all times, of course.
Consistency, where art thou? “People have different reasons for not wanting to run,” explains Ian. If you’re really looking to stick to a run routine, joining a club like Nike+ Run Club might be a good option – you automatically have a community of runners you can trudge through with.
Information-sharing is also key; you learn how to run properly (and avoid the side-stiches – apparently caused by bad breathing) and find the motivation to stick to your run routine when you’ve got a community cheering you on.
“I find setting a goal and a deadline keeps me motivated. Or do a challenge with friends, so you can keep others in check,” she adds.
The one shoe to run them all. Here’s where it gets tricky. Not all shoes are created equal, after all and a lot of them can pack a punch in the cost department. (For the love of your legs, don’t use your porma shoes or your sneakers for a run)
For Ian, the most important thing to look for in a running shoe is comfort. “Whether you’re a novice runner or a competitive one, your run shoes should always be comfortable,” she says.
Nike’s Joyride, the shoe we tested, is kind, especially to newbies. “Versus other Nike footwear, the Joyrides are the only pair which provide personalized cushioning – the pods and the beads conform to the runner’s feet with every foot strike,” says Nike’s Soy Soriano, a former collegiate track star himself.
The shoes were a delight to run with – they were comfy enough to not need breaking in while giving enough cushion to survive a run around BGC. It also helps that they’re colorful without being annoying.
As shallow as this sounds, I find that investing in exercise clothes that make you feel and look good provide extra motivation. If the running doesn't pan out... at least you've got nice looking shoes for your daily activities.
Of course, your shoes don’t need to be the Joyride or even the most expensive ones in the market. Ian recommends asking your friends – or a run club – for options, if you’re still at a loss. Online shopping is great but it's best if you're able to try the shoe on in-store – sizing for specific designs can vary. Running shoes, for instance, tend to run smaller than your usual size because they're designed to have a snugger fit.
Have you given running a try? Is it the workout for you or are you giving it a hard pass? – Rappler.com
Writer's note: The author joined a Nike Philippines event to test-run the new Joyride ahead of its release in the Philippines. Opinions and running struggles – particularly that of the shoe – are all her own.