Running For Dummies

February 7, 2015

No, I’m not implying you’re a dummy; after all, you’re reading my post—that’s a testament to your intellect right there.

But I’ve been challenged to explain running in such a way a child could understand it. Which is ironic, because kids and running go together like devil’s food and cake.

For the sake of this assignment, though, let’s break it down.

Invest in decent running shoes. You will be spared untold agony if you purchase from a specialty running store (sorry, Sports Authority). They have people who know what they’re doing, not some high school kid earning minimum wage on weekends. And dress nicely—chances are you’ll be videotaped while running so they can check your footstrike.

Stretching is optional. Want to start a firestorm? Ask a group of runners what they think of stretching—it’ll make a presidential debate look like two best friends chatting over coffee.

Start out slow—slower lower than you think is necessary. So what if you appear turtle-esque to passersby? Better that than be doubled over a mile down the road. You can only pretend to check your shoelaces so many times before it arouses suspicion.

Have fun. Okay, technically it’s called fartlek, but it’s what kids do all the time: pick a spot, and run to it. It could be a mailbox in the distance, or every other telephone pole—doesn’t matter. Just catch your breath, and do it again. And again. And again. And…

What fartlek should feel like.

What fartlek ACTUALLY feels like. Courtesy

Push yourself a wee bit. That sounds less threatening than “run at or about your anaerobic threshold.” You should be able to talk, but it will sound something like this: “I…think…I’m…having…a…heart…attack.” You can throw out the phrase “tempo run” next time you’re at that fancy shoe store, because that’s what you’ve just done.

Push yourself a wee bit more. The “wee bit” may have been optimistic, because when done correctly you’ll swear you’re about to die. The good news is, you only run a short distance and you get to recover before the next one. The bad news is, there’s a next one. These are called “intervals.”

Looks like SOMEONE just finished his interval training. Courtesy: wikimedia

Distance doesn’t matter. Oh, who are we kidding? Distance is everything.

Have more fun—you’re done! Since you’re just starting out, we’ll save hill repeats for another day.


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