"The bug", the great debate, and ways to stay out of my office this spring.
It happens to many of us this time of year. The weather turns nicer (*finally*), the birds start chirping, and the days are getting longer. We discover new found motivation. Some of us continue to make excuses… after all, the house isn’t going to spring-clean itself. But then the day comes where you finally purge enough junk to reach the back of your closet, and you find them… your running shoes.
It may not happen like this for all of us. I contemplate running all year long. Am I a runner? Umm… technically, no - I think you have to run regularly to call yourself that. But I used to be a runner, so if you ask me if I am one, I still might say yes (followed by a lame excuse as to why I haven’t been able to run in the past 4 months).
For me, it’s this time of year, plus the marathon, that really gets me motivated. Seeing the first of the marathoners cross that finish line has a tremendous effect on my ability to run (in my head). They make it look so easy - fun, even (but if you’re looking for motivation, don’t hang around to see the rest of the pack finish, they look like death)!
Whatever the cause, this is a common time of year to throw on some kicks and start moving. And good for you! Whether it’s cleaning your house (vigorous cleaning is *excellent* exercise!), walking, running, or something else, it will certainly have a positive effect on your health, your mood, and your efficiency with the rest of your day!
Research shows that the more effective workout is the one you are more likely to stick with. The results sound obvious, and perhaps even wishy-washy, but studies show that you can have the same effects from regular walking or running… but walking takes longer. So, pick your favorite.
But not so fast…
Be aware that a sudden increase in physical activity may lead to knee pain (or other joint pain). Do your best to prevent this:
Start slow. Don’t walk every day once the weather turns nice. Start off hitting the pavement 3-4 days per week. And ramp up your mileage and pace, regardless of whether you’re walking or running.
Wear good shoes. If your shoes are more than a year old, it doesn’t matter how good they once were… if you want to avoid joint pain, replace them. And pay for good ones. It’ll save you money in the long run. Check out my buddies at Bayside Runner, they’re the best in the game. No disclaimers, I receive no kickbacks… they’re just really good at their job.
Vary your routine… if you can do some walking on softer ground (dirt trails, grass, or track), do so. Your body will appreciate the break from the pavement.
Calf stretches (with straight and bent knees):
If all else fails, consult a physical therapist. That's all for now. Get outside!