The Supreme Discipline of Running

My mom keeps telling me to “walk, don’t run” (which is, by the way, the title of Cary Grant’s very last movie shot in 1966). 

I love my mom. But what she doesn’t know is, walking and running are like water and gasoline. They are two totally different categories of metabolic burn. Walking simply does nothing for me in terms of weight loss.

In my decade-long battle with fat, it always comes to this: I either get out and hit the pavement or watch myself turn into the Goodyear blimp, real fast.

Perhaps I should qualify my claim to “running”: I actually jog. What do you call a guy who runs 5K in 34 minutes and 10K in 73 minutes but a “jogger”?

I’m slow but steady. When I hit the road chugging, I turn into the Little Engine That Could.

Since I pretty much run the same 5K route for the last 6 or 7 years there are quite a few neighbors who know me by now. Sometimes I even get an encouraging word or two, especially when the weather is bad. They seem to take pity on the fool who keeps launching one attack after another in the Battle of the Bulge.

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The most important thing to take care of in your running program is to have the right SHOES. No money spent is too much when it comes to having a pair of good fitting and light running shoes.

My preferred brand is New Balance. They are not only the lightest running shoes I’ve had but they are all made in the good’old USA as well. So by buying NB instead of Nike I know I’m helping some American worker somewhere take food to his or her home. That makes me feel even better as I enjoy the benefits of this fundamental exercise.

Rule of thumb: change your shoes every 500 miles of running. Flattened jogging shoes is another way to hurt your arches and ankles.

Second is SLEEP. If you are running you have to get your sleep. You can’t skimp on that. If you do, you may open yourself up for joint and cartilage injuries. I have no idea why but every time I try to run without enough sleep I get severe ankle and knee pains that take days to disappear.

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Third is MODERATION. When I get into a regular schedule of running (say, 12 miles a week), the devil in me starts whispering into my ear: “Now that you can run this many miles, how about going a little FASTER? Surely you can go faster and impress whomever you’d like to impress, can’t you?”

Watch out for that voice because you can easily hurt yourself while trying to go faster.

If you’ve never run before, see your doctor first to make sure you do not have a medical condition that might be exacerbated by running.

If your doctor says “yes,” get out and run. You might find out it’s the best way to lose some weight and keep it off, as long as the Engine That Could keeps eating up those hills.

 

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