I remember racing when the main running races in Manila were the Yakult 10 miler, the Milo marathon and various small races at the University of the Philippines. The running scene has since exploded in the Philippines and is a very popular form of fun and exercise for millions of people.
Sometimes it is hard to get started with a new, healthy habit. If you do it wrongly you can do more harm then good. Here are some tips from a long time runner on how to get started safely and then keep going. You are never too young or old to start running along the road to better health.
1. Just Compare Yourself to Yourself and Start Slowly
So what if you are not the fastest or the fittest out there pounding the pavement? Think about where you will end up and not where you are starting from. All you need is a pair of shoes, nothing more. Then you need the determination to start walking regularly. Don’t feel bad if you cannot run straight away. Start slowly and build yourself up so as to avoid stress injuries on your joints. Aim for 2 to 3 good walks a week. When you can, incorporate a little jog into that walk. When you can, jog a little more. Eventually jog more than you walk. One day, maybe in a month or 6 (depending upon where you started from), you will be able to jog the whole way. A general rule of thumb is to increase your kilometers no more than 10% a week.
2. Choose a Safe Place to Run and Run Safely
You have to be aware of your surroundings when you run and be aware of any potential dangers. Traffic, uneven terrain and stray dogs are three of the main things to be wary of. I run in the opposite direction of the traffic and try to stay on the foot path where possible. Safety is another reason to run with a friend just in case you trip as I have done a few times. Ensure your shoes are the right size for your feet (not too tight) and perhaps enlist a coach or join a running clinic for a few sessions to help you with your running style and breathing technique.
3. Build Your Motivation?
Keeping motivated is tough. Especially when your favorite tv program is on or your friends are out partying. Some simple ways to build your motivational base include: (a) Enlist a friend or loved one to join you; (b) Have great music or podcasts to listen to while you run; (c) Keep a log book of every minute/kilometer you exercise; (d) Get a great running outfit that you look fabulous in or buy an aspirational shirt or pants that you aim to fit into one day; (e) Reward yourself with a buffet dinner if you stick to your new habit for a month (you can eat at buffets without getting fat); (f) Write down your goals; and (g) Join a running team.
4. Ensure You Have the Energy To Run with Proper Nutrition and Sleep
Unless you have the energy from good fuel into your body you will find it hard to jog. Proper nutrition is the key to maintaining energy levels and a healthy weight. Chef Cyrille and I follow the Primed Lifestyle where we limit/avoid sugars and grains, have no fast and processed foods, but eat a lot of nutrient and mineral dense foods like vegetables, fruits, seafoods, meats, nuts and berries.
5. Sign Up For a Fun Run (3, 5 or 10km)
“A runners creed: I will win; if I cannot win, I shall be second; if I cannot be second, I shall be third; if I cannot place at all, I shall still do my best.” – Ken Doherty
You will be less likely to sit on the couch and give up your planned running night when you know your race is looming. This is a great reason why I love The Condura Skyway Marathon and will run it again this February 1st 2015. It will be a great motivation to keep running and eat nutritiously over the festive season.
Another great race to sign up for is a trail run where you get to experience the beauty of nature. Sign up for a race such as the Pimco Sporting Events 10km Trail run at Tanay Rizal on October 12th. Chef Cyrille and I will be there, join us.
I hope to see you out running one day. Email me if you want to run together one day. Please share your comments on this article and let us know any other good tips you have. Cheers.