Run For Your Life or For Moderate to Vigorous Exercise!

Run For Your Life or For Moderate to Vigorous Exercise!

Why should I Run?

1)   An Awesome Survival Skill!

2)   Cardiovascular exercise decreases risk of heart disease and stoke

3)   Endurance exercise has been proven more effective than depression medication!

4)   Its nice outside, it might be fun to check it out

I have a long-standing love/ hate relationship with running.

In college I lived with a bunch of guys who used to run cross-country and would always try and get me to run with them. This was deep into the hate part of the relationship and I consistently respond with “I’ll run to the gym with you guys and you keep going” (about a .3 mile run)

At 21 years old I finally decided one day that “ I Loved Running”. This was not an epiphany; this was a bold face lie.

I decided that for 28 days I was going to run and more importantly I was going to tell myself and everyone else that, yes, I indeed love running.  When I woke up in the morning and before I went to bed I would look in the mirror, smile and say three times “I love running”.

The next step was to become a good runner. I have always been quick but never because of anything other than good genes.  So I thought I better learn good form. Lucky for me I was surrounded by former cross-country runners and at the time was also working as an assistant strength coach at the University of Illinois. There was a rule at U of I that at least one coach from the every team had to come to their conditioning practices, which included the track and cross-country teams. (Maniacal Laugh)

Quickly I learned I needed new running shoes and should be running with a more graceful stride.

In terms of running shoes, I personally prefer a more minimalist shoe. That being said, I don’t recommend hopping into a pair of Vibram Five finger shoes and taking off.  There is a certain level of foot and calf strength necessary to run barefoot.  If you’d like to make the transition I would highly recommend starting with a workout circuit like this:

Warm up:  3 minutes of Jumping Rope-

Play around with it you don’t have to just jump up and down, you can do cross overs, double jumps, the Ali shuffle, or high knees to name a few.

Preform as many sets of the circuit as possible in 10 minutes:

1a)   Split Squat Jumps x 12 Each Leg

1b)   Single leg Calf Raise x 10 each leg (This is your rest)

1c)   High Knees- Fast, land on the balls of your feet. Find a decent distance and go there and back

1d)   Burpees x10

Take a Rest- 2-5 minutes

Cool down- 2 minutes of Jumping Rope- Lastly Stretch your calves!

Those puppies are gonna be tight, so if needed stop the clock and stretch them during circuit.

The whole workout is only 15 minutes but it will get the heart rate going and really challenge those calves. Not to mention it will burn some fat!

If you preform this workout 2-3 times barefoot or in a minimalist shoe, you will be ready to run. (a short distance)

(minimalist shoes are not for everyone, nor do they need to be as extreme as the totally flat shoes. The only thing I recommend is looking for a shoe without a big padded heel. I like a little protection under feet so something like the Nike Free’s are a pretty good choice. If you have issues with your arches or other preexisting conditions, consult a professional before changing footwear)

When it comes to Proper form for running Eric Orton is the master. He blew up after the book Born to Run and with good reason, he is an awesome coach! Check out his video on proper form:

As he mentions in the video, it all starts with the feet and moves up the body.

Hint: Keep your arms close to your body and keep your upper body soft. You don’t want to run like this guy:

Additionally running with proper form can also help improve your posture and reduce your stress levels!

So,  after 28 days of running and arguably more importantly 28 days of telling myself I loved running- I actually did begin to enjoy it. I had a very good running partner as well, which never hurts! As an added bonus at the end of the month I challenged my running partner to a mile race and set my new PR at 5:45! That was 25 seconds faster than my previous PR although I still lost the race.

Nowadays I only run once a week, although I enjoy it far more. It is always more fun doing an activity you are good at! 

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Fitness Over Everything