Run Hard When It's Hard to Run….Until You Get Hurt…

When Running SUCKS!!!

Last Tuesday I went on a run, and guess what? It SUCKED!  I felt exhausted and dehydrated the entire time, and could not wait to get back home!  Some of you may laugh at this, but I do not normally feel that way when I run.  I usually feel empowered, focused, and peace-filled.  Regardless of my red face and panting breaths, I finished my run.

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(Photo Credit: www.neverstopfitness.com)

                Finishing this torture reminded me of why many people do not run…because it can really suck!  However, when approached properly, running can be both enjoyable and life-changing.

1. The burning sensation is also felt by your fat!

While the individual’s metabolism varies according to the size and pace of the athlete, running burns more calories than biking or walking.  For example, to burn 563 calories in an hour, a 155 lb. runner would have to jog at about 5 or 6 mph.  However, a biker would have to speed along at 12-14 mph.  I LOVE to bike, but running does burn more calories.

2. Your heart will smile 🙂

When you run, your arteries are contracting much more rapidly than usual, which causes them to remain elastic, so your heart does not have to work as hard.  This results in low blood pressure and makes the heart more efficient.  According to a study at Vanderbilt University, people who did not run supposedly have 36,000 more heartbeats per day than a runner.

3. You can mend your bad relationship with your lungs!

Not surprisingly, running pushes your lungs to their maximum potential.  Even when we take deep breaths, we have a tendency to only use about 50% of our lungs.  However, when you are charging down the sidewalk on a hot day, your lungs are not allowed to sleep in!  Running strengthens your lungs so much that even smokers have recovered their full lung potential through this sport.  Now that is noteworthy!

Okay, so now I might have y’all feeling guilty about not running, but dreading getting started.  Do not let this be the case!  Forcing yourself to run past your potential is not only undesirable but unhealthy!  Yes, UNHEALTHY!  I have personally battled many running injuries, and they are not worth the extra calories burned (Note to self: you cannot keep the results when you are on crutches!).

The best running plan that I have found was published by Runner’s World (I like to call it the “Bible of Huffing and Puffing!”).  I did not create this program, but I would like to share it because it is the plan that I am currently using as I recover from my injuries.  This is a week by week approach to running, starting with walking for 30 minutes and building up to running for 30 minutes.  Please note, I cannot be credited for developing this program, it was created by Budd Coates.

Week One Run 2 minutes, walk 4 minutes Repeat 4 times
Week Two Run 3 minutes, walk 3 minutes Repeat 5 times
Week Three Run 5 minutes, walk 2.5 minutes Repeat 4 times
Week Four Run 7 minutes, walk 3 minutes Repeat 3 times
Week Five Run 8 minutes, walk 2 minutes Repeat 3 times
Week Six Run 9 minutes, walk 2 minutes Repeat 2 times, then run for 8
Week Seven Run 9 minutes, walk 1 minutes Repeat 3 times
Week Eight Run 13 minutes, walk 2 minutes Repeat 2 times
Week Nine Run 14 minutes, walk 1 minute Repeat 2 times
Week 10 Run for 30 minutes Don’t stop! You can do it!!!

While this program will make running more enjoyable, you will always have days where you are lacking motivation. For me, that time was this Tuesday.  Right around the last four minutes of my run, I wanted to quit, but then you have to start asking yourself, “What am I four minutes away from?”  Are you four minutes away from a smaller waist? Lower cholesterol?  Feeling more confident?  NOT dreading clothes (especially swimsuit) shopping?  Are these goals worth more to you than four more minutes of comfort?  You know the answers to these questions, so the only question is…

Why aren’t you doing it?

The only solution is to give your sweaty self a kick in the butt and get moving!

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