For those who don’t like running, know that there is someone out there that sympathizes with you. I recall hating anything to do with that particular pastime; I despised the numerous amounts of side stitches I received during the course of just one run and the moments when my legs simply seemed to turn into iron weights. I loathed having to stop and walk, defeated by the seemingly endless terrain and my puny physical condition. But none of these discomforts equaled having to look at my mile time. Heck no. The digits my physical education teacher called out sent my self-confidence and self-esteem tumbling down like the walls of Jericho. It made me envious of my fellow classmates, silently cursing them for their God-given gift of speed, endurance, and perseverance. Sounds relatable, doesn’t it? Fortunately, I’ve vowed to rid myself of these pestilences during the seventh grade and somewhat followed through with it, becoming one of the more dominant runners by the end of eighth grade and joined my high school cross country team during the beginning of this school year.
You may ask: “How does this benefit me? I’ve decided to compose a guide that can lessen your torment and shave a few minutes off your mile time, no strings attached. I’m not going to force you to engage in the very activity you hate. This article is purely written to make running less arduous.
Firstly, you must find a proper rhythm while running. According to runnersworld.com, “Maintain a short, quick stride. Do not try to lengthen your stride; avoid reaching forward with your foot, which can lead to overstriding and will set you up for injury.” Taking longer or shorter steps than necessary can also lead to premature exhaustion for the runner, so you must find a suitable cadence to run with. A breathing pattern is also essential, since beginners tend to breathe irregularly while running. This may lead to the cramps and stitches we all despise, so a more synchronized method of breathing must be used to efficiently prevent muscle fatigue. Breathing deeply is also preferable to inhaling and exhaling rapidly; runnersworld.com states that, “Breathing deeply while running reduces the stress on the supporting ligaments of the diaphragm and can help relieve side stitches.”
Furthermore, a good diet can also improve your performance. According to a New Performance Nutrient packet I had at hand, a runner’s diet constitutes of macronutrients, such as protein, carbohydrates, and fats (preferably Omega-3 or monounsaturated fat). Of these three, proteins are especially important after workouts, as it is used to repair muscle tissue and build new ones; just one steak or protein bar can have you feeling better even after a ten-mile run. Also note that runner should multiply their weight by 0.5 to 1.0 if they are females and 1.0 to 2.0 if they are male to determine the amount of proteins they must eat in one day. Meanwhile, carbohydrates make up for the majority of the diet and provide energy that is needed to get through workouts. The rest of the diet consists of fats, which serves as a secondary energy source, and surprisingly provides 13.5 times more ATP molecules than carbohydrates. However, fats kick in only after all the carbohydrates are used (as they are stored nutrients), so more carbohydrates should be consumed by fats.
Most importantly, you must learn how to persevere. Running can be at times painful and agonizing, but it will prove to be very rewarding once your body adapts to the stress and becomes less prone to muscle fatigue. Your speed and endurance will increase, and the amount of stops you’ll have to make will become less frequent as time goes on. Embrace the pain instead of trying to avoid it. Be sure to start off slow; over ambitiously trying to complete a workout can be discouraging and (more) physically taxing. So the next time you start walking in the first few hundred meters during the mile run, ta
ke heart in the fact that with proper practice, you will be able to run the mile without stopping, and eventually miles after miles upon end.