Sunday, January 4, 2015

Resolve: Getting Started

I talked about motivation and the desire to get out and do something. One place to start is an exercise that is within your abilities and something you like. Can you walk? Good, go for a walk. Do that today, then when tomorrow comes, go for another walk. Keep doing this for a week or so, making sure you keep track of your miles, or kilometers, you will notice something, a small something, but something. Perhaps it will be nothing more then the fact you can walk a little farther. Or you might notice that your clothes are starting to give a bit of room. There, you have started doing something. Then it begins to impact other parts of your life, you don't sit as much, at the least, you're heading out for a half hour walk. When you finish, you reach for water, not pop and that fills you and satisfies. If not water, then juice, or a piece of fruit, then all of a sudden you don't have room for that bag of chips. Whoa, you're becoming healthy.

You might think, is it truly that simple? Here's a little secret that no one wants to share, it is. Not easy, because there are so many factors fighting against you wanting to become fit, but it is simple.

The issue of exercise is based upon Newton's First Law of Motion: "an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force". If you are at rest, shall we say a couch potato, the universe is doing everything to keep you in that state. Something needs to act upon it, and that is motivation. While that is more internal, rather then external, it is a force that comes into the equation and gets you to desire to move.

Since I'm into running, I'm going to use running as the basis, but the same applies for everything else. Let's say you decide to become a runner, you think you can do this running thing, perhaps like me you see an announcement for a fun run. Let me suggest if you use a race as your motive, then may I suggest a nice 5K. It might be something like a Color Run, or a Color Me Rad or any one of a number of 'colour' based races. These are a good place to start because 1) they are very popular, 2) there is no clock so you don't have to worry about how long it will take you and 3) you do get a t-shirt out of it, plus the atmosphere is high energy and fun. I've done both those and once you get used to the idea that people are throwing coloured food starch every kilometer or so, it's a lot of fun. I understand from reading that a lot of people use these races as their starting point. The Color Run advertises itself as the "Happiest 5K on the Planet" and it is. There are always going to be detractors but at the end, it gets people running. I notice the Color Run has "Shine" as its theme and is showing glitter in their promotion video, this could be interesting. One thing about Color Runs, prepared to have various colours of skin tones for a few days, one shower doesn't quite do it.

When it comes to running, it is good to set a goal and a time frame, which is why I recommend runs as your challenge. You have a date, you know how long it is away, and you know what you are training for. At the same time make your goal one that is both realistic and fits your present, you may think that running 26.2 miles is a great thing and you see there is one coming up in a couple of months and after all, you can drive that distance what's the difference with running? Okay, quick word, don't. The risk of failure, injury and the inability to walk or move for a week is too great. Pick 5K, it is a good distance, one that's far enough to be challenging, but one short enough so that you can do it with the right amount of training. As for training, I have no plan for you, but I can recommend one idea, look for a C25K program. If you have a smartphone, be it Apple, Android or Blackberry you can find a whole lot of programs, which by the way, stand for Couch to 5K. The strategy is to take someone who doesn't run and get them to complete a 5K within a set time frame. I went to the Color Run site and they have a list of free apps to get you going.

So you go and register for your first run, and I'm saying it's a color type run. The statistics state 60% of the people who run will be newbies. If you feel awkward, don't. You have a lot of company. In fact there will be a lot of people there. If crowds bother you then look for a small community type of run that might have a fund-raising component. One thing about runs, you pay for them, so when you put your money down, there's a commitment that is in your wallet. So you signed up, put in your credit card and now you have a date. Circle it on your calendar and download a program to get your started.

You now have your motivation, now it's up to you to get started and get going. One of your first runs will be to your local sports store or maybe you'll venture into a running store. Yes, you will need a good pair of running shoes. You will need them, what you have on your feet right now are not sufficient. You want something that will be comfortable, give you support, look good and will help you. Look, there's enough ways to encourage aches and pains when running, but if its caused by bad running shoes, you will give up very quickly. Talk to the people in the store, let them know what you are planning to do and your needs. They will recommend something good. Personally I'm a Reebok guy, so I will stick with that brand, except this time, I'm Saucony right now. After the shoes, buy some good sweat wicking socks, more then one, then a good running shirt ( technical) and a pair of running shorts. Perhaps the tee and shorts can wait, since early on there is more walking then running. But the shoes and socks are a must. One word, blisters. 'Nuff said.

After the shoes, start. Find a time that works for you and you can incorporate the schedule in and do it. About this time, mention to friends, family and co-workers your plan. Tell them you heard about this thing called "The Color Run" and you've signed up. Give them a description and say you've heard from others that it's a lot of fun. Take them to a computer, get the homepage, show them the video. You just don't know, perhaps an office team??

Don't get discourage. No matter what keep your eyes on the prize. Let me tell you another thing about running and exercise. It is hard work and you will feel it. You are using muscles that haven't seen work in years, you may have times when you are sore and stiff. Here's a little mantra for those days "Pain is weakness leaving the Body". You are changing your body, using muscles, you are rebuilding, it will hurt at times. Power through it. It is worth it.

Keep track. All sorts of online places to mark it down. Make your own spreadsheet. Find your calendar and a pen, mark you distance and time, if you want to go old school.

Drink more water. You are using more energy, water is part of your fuel.

Every time your accomplish a goal, celebrate. Fist bump yourself, buy yourself a nice technical t-shirt. Head over to One More Mile and buy something with a cool saying that fits your triumph. Have an extra special yogurt to cheer yourself on.

Let me give you one more mantra, and running has a lot of them. This is an important one:

The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start
John Binghan gave us this quote. Read it, remember it, read about John.

Remember, you are changing yourself. Power through it.

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