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How to become a better runner. My transformation from a couch potato to a 10 KM runner

Running tips, dos and don’ts from my experience

A wake up call

Your cholesterol is skyrocketing, your liver is fatty, and your blood pressure is 150. If you don’t change your lifestyle, then you will face terrible consequences soon

said the doctor after seeing my reports.

Those words reverberated in my ears an entire week.

I wasn’t paying attention to my health; I ate whatever came my way and swallowed all type of junk and street foods.

I was overweight and out of shape. I was physically unfit, and there were times when I found myself panting after climbing a flight of stairs. I had stopped all kinds of physical activities ever since I left college.

Horrible diet and lack of physical activities turned me into a perfect couch potato by the age of 40.

Inspiration for running-How to be a better runner

“Medicines alone won’t help you. You need to mind what you eat and you must exercise too”,

said the doctor in a tone that sent a shiver down my spine. That was a wake-up call which incited me to act on my weight.

The following week, I managed to cut back on my unhealthy eating habits. I started to follow a strict diet.

Foods that were rich in fiber and low in calories replaced the junk and oily foods from my dining table. But I knew that was not enough. I needed to burn some fat and shed a few pounds. But, how?

The procrastination 🕛

I sought opinion from some of my friends through a couple of WhatsApp group where we actively discussed everything under the sun but health topics. Advices poured from all quarters. Discussions on Yoga, gym, swimming, badminton and walking kept our group alive for few days.

Those discussions reminded us the importance of staying fit and eating right.

I must say none of these guys, who spoke at length about the benefits of these activities, ever practiced any kind of physical activity in real life. Still I appreciated their valuable suggestions and inputs.

After wasting another two weeks by indulging in these discussions, I realized that I was finding lame excuses to remain idle in my comfort zone.

The early struggle ☹️

After much introspection, I realized walking was the easiest activity for me to start with. By the end of the first day , I realized how pathetic the condition of my lungs was.

It was difficult for me to catch my breath even after a short ten-minute brisk walk. I must have walked less than 500 meters, when excessive sweat followed by a slight giddiness turned my first day of walking experience a nightmare.

Persistence is the key 🚶

I walked every day. Gradually, my mind and body came in terms with the new habit.
Of course, it was not a jolly ride in the beginning. First few days were rough, I experienced muscle and body pains. But as the days went by, all those discomforts and pains disappeared without any trace.

Of all, laziness was the biggest challenge that I had to tackle. I read somewhere “If you do something for 21 days that will become a permanent habit.” I recalled those words whenever I needed the inspiration to keep myself going.

Within a few weeks, ‘going for a walk’ became a daily routine and I was able to walk more without any difficulty.

Repetition breeds contempt 🚶🚶🚶➡️🏃

But after few weeks, my enthusiasm started to die down. Walking became a boring activity and those lame excuses to skip workouts resurfaced. I realized that I needed some motivation to keep myself going. I needed a change. One day instead of walking I attempted running. That changed everything! My journey to jogging started there.

First taste of success 🎯😍

I thought I had managed to run for five hundred meters or so, but the voice cue from my running app announced that I had passed two kilometers!

I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. I stopped running and pulled out my phone from the pocket.

Yes! The app indicated that I ran 2 kilometers in less than 15 minutes. I was full of joy and felt that I had achieved something great. After all, these small achievements make our life more meaningful, right?

My endurance to run longer improved marginally. I started to set goals every day before running and constantly achieved them. Each week, I increased the running distance by 1 kilometer.

small targets and achieving them made running an enjoyable activity. On the 85th day I achieved the landmark of 10 kilometers which was no mean feat for a man who was in his 40s.

Fruits of labour 💪

Running energized me all day. It helped me shed those extra pounds and consequently, my pot belly reduced considerably. Also my sleeping pattern improved and mood lifted. The magic of dopamine effect.

My lungs responded positively, as evidently there were no signs of shortness of breath. Climbing those stairs never felt that easy.

I felt rejuvenated! 🌞

Oh yes, here is the cherry on top: my latest blood test results reported that my blood pressure and cholesterol had come back to normal.

This may not be a great health transformation story. But I strongly believe that if I can turn things around in less than 3 months, then anyone can. Click to Tweet

If you have decided to go for a run after reading my experience, then let me share these 8 tips with you which will kinda answer your question ‘how to become a better runner’

8 tips which will answer your question ‘How to become a better runner’

How to be a better runner

1. Choose the right apparels

You don’t have to spend a fortune on running clothes. Running requires comfortable running clothes. Make sure you wear light, breathable, and moisture wicking outfits while running. Your workout clothes actually set the right mood.

2. Start with ‘brisk walk’

If you are a person who never paid importance to physical activities, then it is better to start with brisk walks. Do not bite more than you can chew. Walk as much as possible. Do not worry about the calories you burn or the kilometers you cover. Enjoy your walk for few weeks.

3. And then ‘short run’

When you are super excited to start running, don’t rush to hit the track, just take it easy. Keep the distance short in the beginning. Start with 500 meters or 1 kilometer. Initially you try the combination of 1 min walk / 1 min run.

4. Choose the right running shoe

Nike Vaporfly 4 Percent Evaporate-How to become a better runner

Picking up the right running shoes is important to keep you away from leg injuries, especially if you are running on a hard surface.

Our foot arches fall into three different categories: flat arch, medium arch and high. Which means, not all branded shoes serve the purpose. So consider cushion type and arch level of your running shoe before buying them. Nike Air shoes seems to be ideal but they are bit expensive. If budget is your concern then here are three shoes that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.

  1. Adidas Men’s Astrolite M Running Shoes
  2. Reebok Electrify Speed Running Shoes
  3. Puma Men’s Agility IDP Running Shoes

Check out this article if you need some guidance on buying your running shoe: How to buy the right running shoes

5. Make it a habit

It’s all about creating a new habit. What you repeatedly do ultimately becomes a habit. Behavioural psychologists claim that it takes three step structure to form a new habit: Reminder, routine and reward.

Reminder: Associating any daily activity with the new habit is a great reminder. Like, “After morning tea I will go for a walk.”

Routine: When you are trying to form a new routine: start small. Make it so simple that you can’t say no. For example, “few hundred meters of walk or 5 minutes running.”

Reward: Oh yes! Celebrate yourself each time you complete the session. Tell yourself at the end of the workout, “Great job” or “well done” and enjoy that good feeling. Of course! you can even reward yourself a chilled fresh juice or a healthy snack.

6.Stay injury free

Shin splints are common in newbie runners especially who are in their 40s. It refers to pain along the shin bone. Wearing a shin guard will prevent shin pain and injury. Warming up and stretching for few minutes before the run will improve blood flow to your leg muscles, which can prevent injury.

Bear in mind, choosing right running shoes is also important to keep yourself from leg injury.

7. Be high tech

Technologies are there at your beck and call! A good pedometer watch accurately tracks heart rates, distance, and calories. It also gives reminders and monitor your sleep. You’ll find many brands and varieties to choose from.

Apple watch, Moto 360, Fitbit charge 2 and LiftTrak to name a few. If you prefer to stay away from these gadgets then download any of the free or paid apps available in Play Store or App Store. Countless number of apps are available to choose from, Google fit, Runtopia and Run keeper to mention but a few.

8. Make running fun

“Running is boring.” We have heard people say that all the time. But you can make running more exciting with those personal gadgets, apps and of course music. Listening to music or some serious podcasts may enhance your running experience. Here are few more suggestions.

    • Running during sunrise or sunset will be a rewarding experience.
    • Try different route.
    • Find a running buddy. Some running apps assist you to join running communities where you can meet like-minded runners.
    • Update to a fresh work out playlist. Try Fit Radio App for high energy playlists.
    • Run for miles instead of run for time.
    • For a change run without any gadgets.

Sometimes, a wake-up call is needed for many of us to take care of ourselves. It often comes in the form of an illness.

It is always wiser to learn from other's mistakes. Your life is too short and beautiful to have the luxury of playing with it! 💝😍 Click to Tweet

So, why wait? Lace up your sneakers and run!

Do you run? Are there any tips which I missed?

Let me know in the comments below so that I can add them too

If you liked my story, don’t forget to share this with your friends 🙏

Looking for the best inspirational, self-help books to read in 2018? Check out our article: 11 Best Inspirational Books You Must Read Now and make this year the most successful year in your life so far

Written by Prajeesh Koralath

Prajeesh is a passionate reader and a freelance author who writes about things happening around us. You may find him voicing opinion on various topics like sustainability, technology, politics and inspirational stories to name a few.


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