Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

Op-Ed How To Begin Running If You Hate Running

By Paul Bright     Aug 1, 2007 in Health
I used to only run by accident. Maybe I was getting chased; maybe I had a ball in my hand and the goal was only a 100 feet away. Or maybe I was in a hurry. Either way, I didn't run on purpose until now. And I still hate it but I know how to do it better.
I hate running. I hate it almost with a passion. The only running I enjoy happens on accident while I’m playing sports, like basketball or football and even that other football they call soccer. Running isn’t a problem then. But other than that, if I never ran another mile I’d be a happy camper.
Unfortunately my employers have other things in mind. They want me to run 1 ½ miles as fast as I can in order to say I’m fit for duty, so to speak. I have to do it once a year and to it well or I’ll end up doing it again twice a year or even lose my job!
Also running is a pretty healthy way to get in shape. I have a family history of heart disease, diabetes and other bad illnesses that can be prevented by such a simple-sounding exercise as running.
Those two very motivating factors force me to learn how to run. Follow these tips and I can’t promise that will like running any more than you do now, but it will at least be easier to get started.
Got the right shoes?
People who decide to run usually go out and spend either a lot of money on some Nike running shoes or very little money on some cheap shoes that are Brand X. But you haven’t saved or spent a good dime if your shoes aren’t the right ones for you. Take the time to find a true running shoe expert or do your own online research. It will all depend on your foot shape and step. I have very flat feet that turn in when I run. That is why I used to get massive shin splints on the outside of my shines. A running expert told me that I needed shoes with stability and motion control; they had to have thick heels and a roll bar underneath where my arch is supposed to be. That kind of shoe would keep my feet straight and comfortable. Guess what? No more shin splints. Getting advice like that can prevent you pain and even joint damage.
Get to proper stretching!
Regardless if you stretch before or after running, it doesn’t matter if you do it improperly. You will end up hurting yourself more than anything else. Whatever muscle you stretch, warm up first. Do some jumping jacks or a very light jog for tow or three minutes.
Do your best to isolate that muscle. Take the hamstrings for instance. A lot of people will stretch the hamstring by throwing it on top of a bench or car trunk and bending over, reaching and grunting for those toes. They’ll hold it forever thinking “oh, yeah. Deep stretch.” What you’ve ended up doing was stretch everything in your body just to reach that toe. There wasn’t much energy left for the hamstring which is probably contracting into a ball of mess right now, causing more pain than when you started.
Try lying on your back instead. Put one foot on the floor and stick the other leg straight out. Slowly raise your straight leg 90 degrees. Now, very carefully, reach up to the toes of the straight leg, hold it for two seconds and then drop down. Do that four times for each leg. You will notice that you’ve isolated that hamstring muscle and stretched it out without any effort or work from the rest of your body. You can find a list of stretches like this from
Stay hydrated, but not too hydrated. If you’re going to start your running work out tomorrow (and I’ve had many tomorrows), it’s good to drink a nice glass of water or two an hour before you hit the sack. When you get up, drink some orange juice and another glass of water no later than an hour before you step out the house. If you drink right before you take off, you will get cramps. If you drink too much water before you start running, you will get cramps and you will have to pee. If you drink just water and have no electrolytes like you can get in orange juice or sports drinks, you can sweat out all the salt your body needs and you will be cramping, peeing and possibly rolling on the ground right before you finish.
Running is not the Olympic Sport for you. Face it, you hate running. That’s why you are reading this article. So why try to kill yourself out there to run? You’ll will just be in pain and hate it even more, losing motivation with each breath. Start off with small goals and build up. The first time I ever ran 1.5 miles it took me 18 minutes of huffing and puffing and I’m in good shape. I didn’t even run the whole time. I had to walk in parts. But I knew eventually I would get that time down if I started off slow. So I ran nice and slow twice a week until I could finish without walking. Eventually I got down to 16 minutes.
But I didn’t stop there. Once I could run without stopping for 1.5 miles, I started giving myself little time goals. The next week I wanted it in 15 and a half. The week after that I tried to reach it in 15. Eventually I whittled my time down to 12 minutes, 25 seconds. It took me 9 months to do it, but I did it. Along the way I lost 10 pounds, two and a half inches around my waist. Damn that running! For you, your goals may be distances. Take it slow. Get your body used to the thought of running first before you decide to compete in a 5K. With a gradual easing into running, you will be able to tolerate it more and reap the great benefits it has.
More about Beginning running, Runners, Proper running
Latest News
Top News