Saturday, December 31, 2011
My short article on running in the New Sabah Times today; mainly for those who run only during the first two weeks of the year. Hopefully, they will be inspired to pick up the running routine; and more importantly, support the Borneo International Marathon 2012.
MOST people would say that, of the many things they would like to have in life, health is almost always among the top in their list. Yet the strange reality is that very few of them would actually spend the time and effort to maintain or improve their health.
A common phenomenon seen at the parks during the first two weeks of the year is that there is bound to be an abnormally huge crowd of runners. Many of them make up of people in new running gears. But they would disappear after a few weeks, only to be seen again at the beginning of the following year.
Too many people have tried and failed over the years, and the cycle is bound to repeat again and again in the coming years. As we are starting a new year once again, perhaps this is a good time to take stock of what went wrong, and hopefully this time we can make a difference.
Most people hardly ever run in their entire life. So running even a few kilometers would seem like an impossible task. But nothing can be further from the truth. With proper planning and strategy, almost everyone can quite easily and quickly get into the running routine. The trick lies in the gradual increase of the workload. Many people would fail simply because they do not allow for the body to adapt to the stress, thus resulting in over-training and injuries. They would then conclude that they are not meant to be runners.
The human body has an amazing ability to adapt to physical stress. However, there is always a limit. The strategy is to subject the body to manageable levels of stress; and then gradually increase the workload. What this means in the case of running is to start with (depending on fitness and stamina) briskwalk; or alternate between briskwalk and running, perhaps for a duration of 10 to 15 minutes, three times a week. Gradually increase the duration of the workout, and if possible the pace, over the following week. It is quite normal to experience a bit of sore legs during the first few visits to the track. Keep repeating the cycle, increasing the distance and/or pace, week after week. The only exception is to reduce the distance slightly on every third week (this is commonly known as the “step back”) to allow the body a bit of leeway while preparing itself for the next push. After several weeks, it will be relatively easier to complete 5km at a decent pace.
It makes very little sense to run way too much for one’s ability, and then suffer injuries and therefore out of action for the rest of the week. Remember that working very hard just one day in a week will hardly get you anywhere. It is much better to spread the workout to, say, three or four times a week at manageable levels.
It may be hard to believe, but once the first hurdle of getting oneself into the running routine has been conquered, running becomes much more pleasant and enjoyable. In fact, it can even become addictive!
The Borneo International Marathon (BIM) flags off on the 6th of May 2012. That is over four months from now. As the curtains come down on 2011, why not set a new year's resolution to pick up the running habit? In fact, why not run the 10km, half marathon (21.1km) or even the full marathon (42.2km)?
If one follows the above running strategy, there is absolutely no reason why he is unable to complete at least the 10km race. After all, the time limit for the 10km race in the BIM is a generous 2 hours. So put on your running shoes and start running now! Remember to start at manageable levels and then build up the distance and pace gradually.
The organiser of the Borneo International Marathon 2012 looks forward to seeing you at the starting line on the 6th of May 2012!