Running is one of the most popular workouts in the world. It’s also one of the most basic. You can run by yourself or in groups big and small. You can run indoors or outdoors.
I didn’t start running into I was in my 40s. Well, I take that back. I was a member of my track team in high school but I was always the slowest one of the team and usually the last one across the finish line. I had no training and no training plan. The coach just told us to get out there and run. Needless to say, my track status only latest one year.
In my 40s, while I was still practicing law, my assistant at the time and I decided we were going to run (not walk) the annual Corporate 5k that takes place in downtown Orlando every year. We did a couple of months of training and actually ran the whole thing without stopping! It was such a great sense of accomplishment. I decided to keep running. I eventually ran more 5ks, then a 5 miler, then a 10k. I finally set my sights on running a half marathon. Years later, I had run several half marathons and also ran a series of races put on my a local running store each year.
Running has some amazing benefits. It can even improve the density of your bones! You can work more than just your lower body and running can increase your strength and endurance for other physical activities. You can also workout anywhere and you don’t need much equipment (although you can buy a lot of accessories!)
Before you go out and find your inner Usain Bolt, there’s a few things you need. Number one is a good pair of running shoes. I recommend that you try out the shoes before you buy and if you have a running store, go and get professionally fitted. A good pair of running shoes can make all the difference and a bad pair can cause injuries and pain. You may also want to pick up something to carry your phone and keys in. I use a Spi Belt, which are lightweight and come in different colors and sizes. I even have some small water bottles I can hook over the belt for longer runs.
There are also a ton of running apps that can help you get started or train. I started with Couch to 5k, which called out intervals of walking and running, gradually increasing as the program advanced. I have also used Nike Run Club, Runtastic, Map My Run, Runkeeper and the Apple Fitness App. All of these programs have training programs or running groups you can join which can help you with distance and pace.
I also used my Apple Watch, which worked well for me, but other people can’t live without their Garmin watches. It all depends how much money you want to spend. Like I said, you can spend a lot of money on accessories or you can just keep it simple.
One of the thing I loved about running is it was easy to travel and bring my workout with me. Almost every hotel would have a map of nearby running paths or directions on where to run or I would just hit the treadmill. I ran on every business trip or vacation. I even did a running tour in Vancouver with a professor of Urban Studies, which was a really cool way to see the city and learn about some of the art installations. That year we went on a cruise and I swear the only reason I didn’t gain any weight was that I ran every day!
The major downside of running, at least for me living in Florida, is that you can’t choose the weather. Most of the half marathons in Florida start in the Fall so you are training through the summer, which can be pretty brutal. There were long runs I finished with such a headache from the heat! On the flip side, the last Half I ran, at Disney in January, was around 28! I didn’t feel my feet for the first 4 miles! That was my fastest race because I just wanted it to be over.
I also found that running was not a weight-loss activity for me. This was mostly due to the fact that my nutrition was all over the place and after a long run, I wanted chicken wings and beer! On the plus side, my legs looked amazing!
In the past few years, I’ve moved on to other workouts but I will occasionally run a race or run through the neighborhood. I’m not saying I have given it up forever, but I can definitely say I enjoyed my time running. Overall score: 8/10.