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How I started running and why you should too! 



 

Many people see running as a gigantic task that cannot be accomplished. Running, though, was not an option for many people throughout many millennia as they had to cover large distances to hunt and gather food. Many people no longer have the desire to run because of the comforts of modern life, which have eliminated the need for us to go hunting for food. Having been one of them, I must confess that I do not truly hold it against them!

 

Growing up, I was always active and practiced different forms of martial arts. Whilst this sport helped me become more explosive, I could not run more than 1 K without stopping, trying my best not to throw up. When COVID-19 hit, the gyms closed down, and the only option I had to train was outside. That first time I tried running, I stopped after 2 K, holding my chest, breathing heavy, praying to all the saints not to pass out! Someone even walked by and said to me that I shouldn't be out if I have COVID symptoms! That's how bad it really was!

 

Surprisingly, I decided to stick with the challenge because I somehow enjoyed it. I lacked a concrete strategy in the beginning. My goal was to run a 5K nonstop. This took quite a few months to achieve, and the speed was still very slow. However, I could see progress! As soon as COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, races began again, and a friend persuaded me to join them for a 5k. In this race, I made the mistake of trying to keep up with others instead of keeping my own pace. I stopped halfway through, burned out, doing walking and running intervals. Lesson learned! Regardless, I persisted. I started reading about running and eventually got a running coach as well. Am I now at the elite level? Years and years to go, dude. However, I am in the midst of preparing for my inaugural half-marathon! That is so big to me! The most amusing part is that I am absolutely loving running! 

 

So, why am I relating this tale to you? Just like I was able to get going, you can too. I won't sugarcoat it. There will be many challenges you have to face along the trails of sweat you will leave behind. You can expect achy knees, darkened toenails, and get this, you will even start giving names to your blisters (you will get very creative with that!). Unless you find a partner that runs your speed (which is very hard to find!), you will be running solo, often hours at a time if you are going for longer distances, even sometimes in horrible weather conditions. People will think you have gone mad, and there will be times when even you will self-doubt your sanity and question why you are doing this. 

 

I cannot really tell you if runners are mentally sane or not, but what I can tell you is that we are in good company. There are hundreds of thousands who take part in races every year, and even more who run to improve their own health, without any ambition in taking part in races. During races, you find different kinds of people, from children to grandparents, people with special needs, or even those battling different problems such as weight management or health. The most inspirational for me were those who were running whilst undergoing chemo! Different people have different goals. Some people aim to win, some people simply want to finish the race, some push for personal bests, some others simply want to improve their own health or manage their own body weight, and some others run to raise money for charity!

 

The benefits associated with running will completely transform your life. Both your health and your energy levels will improve, allowing you to take on the challenges of daily life with greater ease. You will develop an athlete's mindset, which will boost your self-esteem as you accomplish previously perceived impossible feats. Challenges will no longer seem insurmountable; instead, they will serve as opportunities to discover what you can achieve. Plus, you'll end up being an inspiration to so many others. This is how running communities are formed. People inspire each other to start running and achieve goals together. You will meet new people during races that will become your closest friends. How beautiful is that?

 

Why am I writing this blog? First of all, I want you to know that you are not alone in thinking that running can be challenging. I can relate! Starting this journey has been incredibly challenging, both mentally and physically. I want to help you avoid making the same rookie errors that I did. I will answer commonly asked questions about training, nutrition, injury prevention, and mental preparation.

 

Finally, a word of caution. During this journey, you will experience different emotions including happiness, anger, frustration, and sadness. Various injuries, such as strains and sprains, as well as the occasional fall, are inevitable. Not every race will be a personal best. Some may even be personal worsts! Despite everything, running is a highly addictive sport. It turns into a passion. How this happens is beyond my comprehension. But I encourage you to get up from your seat and begin! Maintaining your commitment may seem daunting at first, but hang in there. You are never too old to start. And most importantly, you are not alone! 

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