Running Part 1

I’ve tried to make running a habit several times over the course of my adult life. The result of those efforts has been years (decades?) of no running at all. Over the pandemic I gave it another shot and made decent progress. By decent progress I went from a quarter mile to running 10 kilometers a few months later. The first run was the hardest. The measly quarter mile. I really thought I was going to puke. I kept at it and over time I was able to add more miles, but I added miles too quickly and while I only got injured once, the runs themselves were not that much fun. It become a slog…and then I was back to not running. But I’ve started again in 2023 and so far things are going well.

Before I go on to the way I’m approaching running let me talk a little bit about where I’m starting from as far as general fitness. I’m 49, mostly sit at a desk all day for work, I’m a tad over normal BMI, I love pizza, chicken parm sandwiches and dark beer. My knees, ankles and back are okay. Creaky at times, but nothing too bad. So on the odd chance you decide to follow this little regime I’ve got going, keep in mind where I’m starting from.

If you look up info about running/running habits on the web you’ll find plenty of places that say something to the effect of “don’t add more than 10% to your distance from one week to the next.” I have ignored that advice in the past because building up distance at 10% per week takes forever. I want results now. But turns out it’s good advice. I didn’t follow it at first because the distances I was running weren’t very far to begin with. But once I got to a mile, I started following the +10% rule and things have been great. Here’s the plan:

  1. Week 1: Run half a mile every day for 5 days. Take at least 1 day off. Maybe 2.
    1. If you can’t run half a mile, start at a quarter. If you can’t do a quarter, just walk half a mile. Find a walk/run distance that you can do where you don’t feel like falling over at the end. If at any point a knee or ankle starts to hurt stop. Take a day off and try again.
    2. Eventually you’ll get to the end of week where you run half a mile for 5 out of 7 days.
  2. Week 2: Do the same thing for 3/4s of a mile. Same rules. Rest after 5 days. Stop if any leg parts start to hurt.
  3. Week 3: Do the same thing for 1 mile. Same rules. Stop if any leg parts start to hurt.
  4. Week 4: Multiply 1 x 1.1 (which is 1.1).
  5. Week 5: Multiply 1.1 x 1.1 (which is 1.21).
  6. Week 6: you get the idea.

Having a smart watch helps you set the distance exactly so you know how far you’ve run and when to stop. Of course, you don’t need one if you’re running on a treadmill. Even if you’re outside you can mark off the distance on google maps and just run a route that matches the distance you need to go. It’ll be close enough. As far as indoor vs outdoor running, I think outdoor is better. Running through neighborhoods (I think) is good for your ankles and knees because you’re constantly adjusting your feet,hips and body to stay upright. Just my opinion.

Oh, one more thing. You don’t need a lot of gear but you do need some decent running shoes.

Last thing I’d say is, just get started. For me, I feel better and healthier. I’m eating better because I don’t want those heavy salt rich foods in my stomach when I go for the day’s run. The alcohol intake drops for the same reason. I used to think it would feel like a big sacrfice to give up the rich food and the beer but after you finish a few runs and you say to yourself “I feel GREAT!" it won’t feel like a sacrifice.