15 April 2014

The Run Diary - Week hmmmm - A beginner's guide to running

Running is a bit like having a baby.  People spend a lot of time telling you about the things you ultimately don't really need to know, and absolutely nothing about the bits you do.

I'm there for you.  Here are the things that beginner runners need to know.

Catherine told me so it must be true. Please. 
  1. Running hurts.  It's not natural - all the professionals agree that the body is not designed for you to haul your weight around at a stupid pace for hours on end.  Which is why muscles you never knew existed start to hurt and you feel that your knee cap is going to explode, or your shoulder aches, or you get that weird pulsing muscle in your groin that feels like gremlins are trying to dig their way to China.

    And unlike childbirth - nobody offers you pain relief.  They try and positive mantra your arse off and tell you to push through the pain.  Even in childbirth they encourage you to take a break and get your breath back.  Like childbirth though - profanity is perfectly acceptable and drinking wine afterwards thoroughly recommended.
  2. Running is really bloody expensive.  They say that all you need is a good pair of running shoes and an open road but that's just bollocks.  It's like people that say to have babies all you need is a pair of boobs and some nappies.  A good pair of running shoes sets you back a couple of hundred dollars.  Which you have to replace every few hundred kilometres.  Which happens faster than you think.  Then you need a good bra, a really good bra, so your boobs don't knock out your fellow runners. If you are running distances, you need the hydration belts, and gels, and watches.  Even for shorter runs you need good underwear so you don't get chafing, proper running shorts/leggings so you don't get chafing and a good top... so you don't get chafing.  Plus all of a sudden you're eating better which costs money and the list goes on.
  3. Dynamic training is mind numbingly boring and repetitive.  The name lies.  You basically run on a wet oval, around and around and around in circles at various paces.  Your feet get wet, the mosquitoes eat the shit out of you and there is no decent scenery to distract you from the fact that you are basically running in circles for two hours when there are so many more fun things you could be doing.
  4. Footpaths are never straight.  And the steeper it is, the more likely it is to be tilted to one side.  So when you see people running up a hill, one leg is running a lot less, because the ground is likely to be higher under their left leg and lower under their right.  Which is why even really good runners look like their are lurching sometimes.  If you're on a road, just when it is steepest they dig it up so you're essentially running on cobble stones.  It's very likely that every local council in every city around the world is full of people actively designing surfaces that make running difficult.  And they are laughing so very very hard.
  5. Running never gets fun.  The longer you run the happier you are to finish.  And the more emotional.  I wept like a small child deprived a chocolate bar after my 16.13 kilometre run the other day.  And I have to learn to run another seven on top of that.  I get that some people regularly run marathons, ultra marathons and the like - but its not for the love of running.  It's to complete the run.  It's to be able to say 'I did this in x amount of minutes'.  If people were running for love of running they wouldn't need to run races.  Fact. And even professional runners say that when running feels easier, you need to run faster.  It's a fool's errand my friends, a fool's errand.
  6. Running is not for weight loss.  The only way you're going to lose weight running is if your leg falls off. Fat turns to muscle.  Muscle weighs more. Michelle Bridges only wants you to believe it works so you buy her running pants.  Running might be good for you in a lot of ways (none of which I have yet discovered), but if you really want to lose weight, just don't eat. It's quicker, less painful and doesn't involve dynamic training.  
I'm not saying don't do it. Doing anything you've not done before is always intensely satisfying. I'm just sayiing that if you have the choice, take up roller blading. It's much faster, much more fun and much much kinder to your boobs.