Every human being is born built not only to run but to move like gazelles! Our sedentary lifestyle has stopped us from realising our human potential as moving beings!
Human beings have lived through the ages and prior to the comforts that we now have these days, we used to use our body's to get around on foot, hunt for food and run from predators!
Now days our lives generally involve getting up out of our specifically build bed, dressing into our heeled shoes to walk down the stairs to our cars, cars that take us to our place of work which in most cases requires us to sit down at a computer for up to 10 hours per day! If you think about it, we are awake 16 hours of each day and are sitting down for 14 hours of that time!
Point blank it's not that we can't run, it's that we have un-trained ourselves to a point that our society has forgotten that it is what we are built to do.
Here is a step by step guide to getting yourself off your bum and unable, to running like a gazelle!
Step One - Move
Have a look at your life. If it is required of you to sit down most of the day, then change everything in your control. It doesn't matter what you do! Move more than you do now.
Here are some suggestions
- Get up and go for a walk around the office every 30mins at work. If you can't then simply stand up!
- Park 1km away from the office and make the walk
- Take the stairs not the elevator. If you're on level 100 then stop at level 95 and walk the 5 levels
- At home, less TV and embrace an after work stroll
Step Two - Walk
This sounds simple in theory however it is where most people fall off. A walk is both therapeutic for the body and for the mind. If you walk with your partner or a friend, then you will be unlocking some time to talk and will build a better relationship with that person!
Tips at this point
- Commit to walking every day at the same time. Build a habit
- Start with what you can do and then increase your distance to an hour of effort
- Once you have this down pat and you're a professional social walker, you can then potentially introduce the next step
- Time to incorporate compound movement weights training to strengthen your legs, bum and hips. You wouldn't drive a car on flat tyres would you?
Step Three - Jog
You can recognise yourself at this point, if this is what you say 'I AM NOT A RUNNER'. Guess what! I know you're lying, not only to others but also probably to yourself too! You're scared of injury, pain, your potential or other people's judgment. That's okay because it's perfectly normal to feel all of those things. However, it's important to realise that you are putting roadblocks up and that there is no such thing as being a 'runner', you just haven't done it yet!
You are currently a baby moving into the toddler phase, get up, fall down, get up, fall down and soon enough you will be walking around everywhere.
This will be your relationship with jogging, you won't be able to do it for long at first but if you practise every day I promise you will get better and better and better.
Tips at this point
- Start off by jogging what you can and then finish your walk as per normal. Do not run walk, run walk and run walk. This will increase you likely hood for injury as it is common in this phase
- Progress each time you jog. If you can do 500m to start, then you goal is to go a little further next time
- Take a look at your style of running and speak to a Personal Trainer, Physio or Running enthusiast. They will be able to help you move better
- Set a distance that you would like to get to. 2km - 5km - 10km
- Prepare for that bad days. Yes there will be days, where your body won't feel up to it. DO NOT run through the pain. Listen to your body, back it off and wait until you feel good before progressing
- Time to upgrade your weights training to incorporate some functional movements. Movements like lunges, squats and deadlifts. Upgrading your car means more better tyres!
Step 4 - Run
Once here you're a runner. Congratulations!
You might think jogging and running are the same? There is a defining difference in my eyes. At this stage you do not want to walk anymore because you find it easier to run. You have adjusted your running style, you have completed some events and people are calling you a 'runner' (You still laugh at the thought of this though).
At this stage running is enjoyable and a part of your weekly routine. You don't have to be told or motivated to do it because you enjoy it! Welcome to endorphin city!
Tips at this point
- Careful at this stage because you are putting some kms in to your newly found legs. You will need to be stretching and mobilising to stay at this level. Focus on muscles surrounding your Iliotibial Band, Achilles Tendon and Tensor Fasciae Latae. These are the common areas that need work throughout you increasing distance training. If left un treated this can lead to debilitating conditions in later years.
- Aim to be running at a 6min per km pace as it will be comfortable eventually. 10kms in 1 hour
- Re-look at your style of running and speak to a Personal Trainer, Physio or Running enthusiast. They will be able to help you move even better than before
- Incorporate 'fartlek' or 'tempo' training once or twice per week
- You are killing it, if you stay here then you are already far ahead of most people
- Ensure you have a balance or functional weights training and endurance strength training. Focused on technique and flowing movement, heavier is not good unless you can maintain good flowing form.
Step 5 - Gallop
I'll be honest not many people will want to take their running to this point, however I love running and think it's worth a quick mention. At the start of this article I mentioned that all humans are built to run! I believe we are not only built to run, I truly believe we are able to run faster, more comfortably and more efficiently than we as a society think. I believe we can gallop alongside stallions! Have a look at the Kenyan runners that compete in long distance events and you will see some serious moving.
Although you do not have to complete running events, at this point you probably want to because you enjoy pushing yourself to you limit.
Tips at this point
- Treat yourself like and athlete. You need to stretch, mobilise get consistent massage treatment to keep you in fine form. Focus is not only needed around the areas mentioned above, but also around your Erector Spinae and Frontal cross hip to shoulder myofascial gates.
- Do not run through pain. Treat your pain and listen to you niggles. If you don't, they will lead to bigger issues down the track.
- At this level you need an experienced coach. Have this person really analyse your body's ability to move in running gate positions, such as an overhead squat, deadlift and lunge
- Embrace no heels lifts in your shoes. Start looking at forefoot running techniques that will help with your body's ability to hold a nice strong and flexible running gate for a long period
- Use compression socks, the work really well in recovery and increase blood flow to the muscle
- Aim for 3.5 - 5 mins per km. 10kms in 35 - 50mins
In summary, where ever you are starting I am confident that you will be able to progress and continue to run into your older years. I look forward to running alongside you on the course in the over 80s category running like gazelles, smiling at each other because we still don't believe we are runners!
Owner Vision Personal Training Bangor, Engadine and Sylvania*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.