Some people hate running. I don’t know why. There’s something about sweat, sore-legs, and gasping for breath that seems to turn people off.
And then there are people who can’t get enough of it. You’ve seen ’em: it’s late December, the middle of a blizzard–and there they are, running down 5th Avenue like it’s Christmas morning and they’ve got somewhere important to go (like out of the blizzard, maybe?).
So what’s their secret? Truthfully, I don’t know. What I do know is that running can be fun–addictive even. The following article won’t make you a marathoner. But it might make you consider running as a fun and rewarding hobby for your health.
Why Run? The Benefits of Running
So what are the benefits of running, anyway? Oh, am I glad you asked. While there are several benefits, I think it boils down to the following 3 things:
Running is a great stress reliever for several reasons. It gives you time to yourself and clears your mind. It gets you moving and challenges your body. And have you heard of the runner’s high? No, it has nothing to do with drugs. While somewhat mysterious, many runners experience a state of euphoria while running. Nothing like a natural high to relieve stress!
Running makes you feel good about yourself. Knowing that you tackled that hill will give you confidence to tackle that project at work. Not only will you feel better because you look better, you’ll feel empowered knowing you can overcome any obstacle.
This one is simple. Running reduces the risk of heart disease, blood clots, breast cancer, and stroke. It lowers blood pressure and boosts your immune system. I could go on, but I think you get the picture.
To sum up, you’ll feel better, look better, and live longer. Pretty awesome benefits for a hobby!
Running Gear: Shoes, shoes, shoes
You can buy all of the snazzy outfits and high-tech equipment you want, but the single most important item you’ll buy is a pair of running shoes.
As far as running shoes go, “one size fits all” doesn’t work. In order to find the shoe for you, try doing a “Wet Test,” which goes something like this: Dip your foot in water and place it on a piece of paper. That’s it. If you’re human, the shape will be either normal, flat, or high-arched (or close to one of them). For more information, Runner’s World has a great guide to choosing a running shoe.
Tips for Beginning Runners
Don’t set out to run 10 miles the first day. Listen to your body. If you need to walk, then walk 5 minutes and run 5 minutes. Don’t put pressure on yourself to go too fast right away–it will only lead to burn out and possibly even injury.
Start a Program
Thousands of people have found success with the Couch-to-5K Running plan. With it, you’ll be able to run a 5-K (3 miles) within 2 months. If you’ve found another running program you’ve enjoyed, let us know in the comments section.
Get a Running Partner
While running by yourself can be fun, a running partner will keep you motivated. Many cities also have running groups if you’re looking to make friends and stay motivated at the same time.
Running is only a great hobby if you’re having fun doing it. If you want to run a marathon, then start training. If you like running hills, then go for it! If you prefer the treadmill, then do that instead. Whatever you do, have fun!