Runner’s High

by: Alyssa Ruffolo

Why are some people able to run 26.2 miles straight, yet I can barely run a mile? You may be wondering how some people have a passion for such a tiring, tedious sport. If you are one of those people who says that running just isn’t for you, you may want to reconsider.

While many sports require coordination and as some may say a “natural talent”, running is one of those sports that comes natural to almost everyone. Sports such as soccer, volleyball, and hockey involve learned skills. There are certain motions, techniques, and balancing abilities required to excel in those areas. To run, all you need is a decent pair of shoes and the great outdoors. Now, while running a mile may be challenging for you and maybe even extremely discouraging, you are very capable of doing it. Running requires patience and consistency. This may be the reason why so many people find it relaxing and use it almost as a meditation; unlike many contact sports such as soccer or hockey for example, running long distances does not involve lots of starts, stops, or collisions. This type of exercise is easier on your body if you do it the right. If you are able to keep a comfortable, steady pace, it can actually be quite enjoyable and rewarding.

Should you start off on your first day of training trying to run a mile? Well, this all depends on the person. It is always best to start out doing what you are comfortable with. Maybe run for five minutes, then walk until you reach a mile. Or, maybe just focus on time and start with your first goal being to run/walk a total of ten minutes. Setting small goals is always a good way to prevent yourself from getting discouraged. Over time, you will find that the amount of exercise you started off doing becomes much easier as the days pass by. One great thing about running or jogging is that if you stay consistent and run 5-6 days a week, you are sure to see results.

Once you feel more comfortable with the sport, you can start to increase your goals and add workouts to your weekly routine. Maybe once or twice a week, instead of going out for a nice easy jog, you incorporate some pick-ups into your run. A pick-up is when you increase your pace for a set amount of time (for example, 30 seconds) and then return to your regular pace. These small changes and additions to your running schedule can help you tone muscles that you don’t normally use and add a little boost to your overall calorie burn.

Many people start out at the beginner level and quickly become discouraged because they are not able to run what they wanted to right away. When I first started running, my asthma was a big obstacle I faced. Over time, I learned how to manage and control it. It is important to remember that these things take time, patience, and most importantly- consistency! Running IS for you. I have been running for years now and the best results I have seen are when I am consistent. I find myself getting frustrated at times because in the mix of my school and work schedule, many weeks it is hard to find time for running. Maybe I will run four days one week, six the next, and then hit a busy week when I am only able to run two or three days. The following week I find myself sore, tired, and not as in-shape as I would like to be. It can get pretty frustrating at times. I always try and remind myself that even if I take just twenty minutes of my day and go out for a jog, that consistency will save me from getting out of shape and becoming discouraged. Plan ahead! Setting aside a specific time each day that you are able to go out for a run helps ensure that you will make time for it in your busy day.

Now, runner’s high. Is it a myth? Many people might say that this is a myth or an exaggeration, but I believe in runner’s high. I have experienced it myself. The feeling of completing a really challenging run is one of the most exhilarating feelings I have ever experienced. It is the feeling of being covered in dirt, super queasy and nauseous, feeling the sweat trickling out of your pores, panting from exhaustion, but also an amazing tingling in your stomach, an adrenaline rush. Walking off of a hard course or walking away from a challenging workout and knowing you completed it and gave your one-hundred percent is such a fulfilling, accomplished feeling. Unlike other team sports, when you cross that finish line you only have yourself to thank; all of your hard work shows in your individual performance. If you do decide to take up running, I wish you the best of luck and I hope you get to experience that runner’s high because it truly is like nothing else.

originally posted: 2/6

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