Last week, my housemates decided to buy some new shoes and start running. I was really happy when I heard this, because I fully support their endeavours when it comes to healthy living. Seeing their new, shiny shoes and hearing them talk about their running plans brought my mind to a few years ago, when I went running for the first time. I was excited, energetic and ambitious, and I remember that my first round of probably just two kilometres was extremely exhaustic. I also remember that I made some newbie mistakes, which I would not want my housemates (or anyone) to repeat. That’s why I dedicate this week’s installment of Geek Jitsu to the three things I did wrong when I started running!
You’re running on the street, not the catwalk
I feel incredibly vain when I say this, but when I started running, I actually worried about what I looked like. I wanted to make sure that, while out and sweating, my visuals would somehow compensate my lack of stamina. Well, here’s an obvious fact for anyone with more logic than me: looks don’t make you run better, and nobody cares what you actually look like. Unless you’re participating in some weird fashion marathon, your time spent running is time you can use to don’t give a rat’s ass about your appearance. You’re gonna be sweating, coughing and (maybe) puking anyway, so who cares that you’re wearing pink running shoes and bright yellow sweatpants? If anything, the car drivers on your route will thank you for being easy to spot!
One day, you’ll might be the Flash, but not today
When I started running, I was under the impression that you had to go fast from the start. I thought that if I wanted to do it right, I had to do it fast. This kind of thinking got me epic muscle spasms and the urge to puke after just a short run, and I knew I was doing something wrong. Can you guess what? That’s right, I had forgotten my lesson from the story of the turtle and the hare: slow and steady wins the race.
It’s true, though. When you’re starting out, you won’t be running like the Flash, but that’s okay. Take it easy, and find a tempo that seems right for you. It should be challenging, but not so taxing that you call it quits after fifteen minutes. One day, you’ll be outrunning all the other part-time athletes, but that day is not today.
Knowledge is power
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of numbers or statistics. However, I cannot deny the allure and especially use of tracking your runs. When I started running, I didn’t want to be confronted with the harsh reality, but soon, I discovered that keeping an eye on your statistics actually shows you how fast you improve, and that’s rewarding.
I’m not saying that you have to invest in expensive GPS devices, pulse rate monitors and the like. However, in this age of smartphones and mobile broadband, getting an app like Runtastic and tracking your average speed, altitude change and length of runs is no big effort. Once you gather some numbers, you will notice your improvements over time. Sure, there will be days you go slower or run shorter tracks, but in the long run (no pun intended) you’ll see how fast you grow. Take your time to look into some of the different apps, and find the one that suits you best.
That’s it for this week’s Geek Jitsu. If you have anything to say, feel free to comment below. Also, if you have any health topics that you would want me to cover from a geek’s point-of-view, feel free to contact me through mail, Twitter or a comment below. Keep healthy!