How I started to run (even if I don’t like to)

by Paolo

I never liked to run. One of the things that connect my childhood to my recent past is the total aversion I had for running. The few times I tried, I couldn’t stand the sense of apparently useless fatigue, the breath becoming shorter and shorter and the t-shirt getting sweated without giving me back a tangible reward. Since I’ve always been skinny, burning fats was never my concern. I ended up asking myself: “Why to do this?”. I could never give myself a convincing answer.

Suddenly and unexpectedly, in a sunny Saturday morning, I found myself on an athletic track together with some of my mates from CrossFit Lugano. We were there for a 5Km training and benchmark test.

Since I joined CrossFit, after each one of the workouts I did, I felt the need of improving my cardio resistance. I never realised how out of shape I was and how much underperforming my body was until I kept finding out that my times were much higher than the ones of my On-Ramp mates. I don’t like to compete in sport and I don’t see CrossFit as a competition. What I had in front of my eyes was a simple benchmark. And I wanted to get better.

I soon learned that a very efficient way to improve the performance of our cardio-circulatory system is a simple run, even if once a week. Having a better performing heart does not mean only getting better in sport, but also getting better in life. Our daily routine – intended as job, alimentation, deadlines, and relations – often stresses us. I eventually found – without any prior expectation – that running helps me a lot in fighting my usual high level of stress. While running I can free my mind and finally start thinking about myself. And so I think that my Saturday morning run will become a strong tradition.

Me and some of my mates from CrossFit Lugano running our 5Km

Me (in grey t-shirt) and some of my mates from CrossFit Lugano running our 5Km

Give yourself motivating but realistic goals

Keep in mind your long-term goal: getting better in life and improving your well-being. That said, I found short term motivations in setting a realistic distance goal for my daily run. If you just get out of the place and start running, you will probably end up stopping at first signs of fatigue. And if you’re not trained, that will happen quite soon. My realistic goal was (and still is) running without stopping for 5Km (3.1 miles). Set your distance and do your best to reach the target.

Find a place you like, better if without cars

I never liked the idea of running on the streets. The traffic lights breaks your pace, you breathe bad stuff and traffic might be dangerous. We have the luck to have in our city a public athletic track where we can go to run free of charge. Is never crowded and I find that place motivating. A nice choice may be a public park or, if you’re lucky enough, some pedestrian area by lakes, rivers or sea.

Don’t run alone

If your motivations are low, go run with a friend. It will be harder to be caught by last-minute laziness and you’ll find together with your pal motivations to reach your goal. Plus, you might have time to talk and relax: precious things nowadays.

Wear running shoes

I learned pretty soon that is important to use proper shoes while running. If you are not well trained and you run with non-amortised soles your knees, your ankle and your hips may hurt. The Internet is packed with reviews about shoes and will not be hard to find a pair you like. My personal beginner’s suggestion is to go for lightness and avoid bulky shoes.

Track your performances and results

Keeping track of your performances is a huge source of motivations. Before considering buying expensive GPS watches for tri-athletes, download a simple running app on your smartphone. It will be satisfying seeing your paths and your times, especially when you will start comparing them and you will have big improvements in front of your eyes.

It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop

It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop (