Since winter is officially over (it never really happened in Southern California), that means there’s no excuse for not getting outside and enjoying the beautiful weather. One of the best ways to get into shape is to set a goal for the not-too-distant future and design a plan for achieving this goal. Try a marathon race, for example. Running is a great sport to get into. Outside of proper running shoes, which are essential for avoiding injury, there’s virtually no cost. Running a marathon may seem completely out of reach, yet thousands of people from old to young, fit to not-so-fit do it all of the time. Getting into marathon condition is much like the act of running itself—it’s all about pacing.
Pain is Not Gain
Before beginning any sort of physical activity, you have to be realistic about your capabilities. If necessary, consult your doctor to safely determine your fitness level. Once you’re ready to run, go easy on yourself. It’s better to get out and do many, shorter, easier runs, than to do a small number of knee-busting, ankle-twisting exercises. The idea is get into a routine that maximizes time spent exercising and minimizes injury. The old idea that pain is gain is outmoded. Be good to your body, it’s gotten you this far.
Make Resting a Priority
Running requires resting. That’s all there is to it. You don’t train for a marathon by running a marathon every day, or even every week. Often, the actual marathon will be the only time you run the full length of the race. Everything else is about building endurance and avoiding injury. The body, especially the muscles used in running, is a lot like any other piece of complex machinery. There is a very real threat of overloading and overworking yourself. This is why when you draft a workout plan you need to include days of rest. Multiple and frequent rest days, not just when you think you might be exhausted.
Runner’s World Magazine reminds us of one of running’s most glorious aspects—it allows us to indulge in carbs without feeling guilty. Carbs are fuel and when you’re running, you need the energy. This may fly in the face of proponents advocating for a zero-carbohydrate diet, but when you’re training for a marathon ignore the carb haters. Of course, you need to be smart about your diet. This is not an excuse to eat a bag of greasy potato chips. Choose your carbs wisely and plan your intake around periods of high calorie burn.