To acquire wisdom, one must observe

Everyone is a runner

I know what you are probably thinking, the title of this article is absurd. Just stick with me and see what you think once you have read the entire thing. 


Hi, I am Calli, a member of the Varsity Cross Country and Track & Field teams here at Brandeis and hope that this article can inspire some Hoot readers to rethink any preconceived notions they may possess in regard to running. Running is such a special form of exercise for those fortunate enough to be able to participate. I feel so lucky to run as much as I do. 


Another bonus about running is how cheap it is. All you need is a solid pair of running shoes and you are set to go. I recommend going to a running shoe store such as Marathon Sports (right down the road in Wellesley), or seeking professional opinions online before making any purchases. When it comes to running shoes, there are variations of the type of shoe support you may need. If you pronate or supinate, it would be ideal to get a supportive shoe that corrects the abnormalities associated with your natural gait. Considering these seemingly minute details will likely pay off down the road. The other type of running shoe is neutral, for those lucky enough to have a naturally neutral gait and do not require a stability shoe. I’m not envious, what are you talking about? Considering your gait will help you to avoid shin splints, knee pain, hip discomfort and even back pain. 


My shoe brand of choice is New Balance. I wear the Fresh Foam X 860v13 as I need a bit of stability in my running shoes. They also have excellent shoes for those with neutral gaits such as the FuelCell Propel v4 and Fresh Foam 880v13. The Propel’s are one of their more reasonably priced options which is a win. Brooks Running also has the Adrenaline and Ghost models which are common fan favorites. I would not recommend HOKAs unless running on an unstable mattress sounds good to you. And if you are wondering, no, they are not a fashion statement in my eyes. I apologize to anyone who I may offend with my two cents. When did the Sports Section bleed into Opinions? Oops. New Balance all the way!


Another running accessory that most runners use is a GPS watch, however, I have a fun lifehack for you. Download the app Strava and thank me later. This is basically Instagram but for your physical activities. It has a built-in GPS feature so you can track and post your runs from anywhere at any time. The app does have a subscription option, but it is not a feature that most people utilize. The app allows for an extremely positive and encouraging social media environment. You can also give your friends on the app ‘kudos’ and encourage them to keep up their hard work. 


Before getting into the actual how-to portion of this article, I must backtrack a bit first. To hash out my intentions with the title, not everyone could consider themselves a current runner, though I know that any able-bodied individual has the potential to be a runner. 


When it comes to running, especially if you haven’t done so recently, you must start slowly. Begin with significantly easier, more manageable workouts. Have grace for yourself. When you first start off things will feel unusual and uncomfortable, but with time and discipline you will soon understand how special this sport is. 


Even while competing at a high level in high school, my teammates and I started off quite slow as we eased into each season. We won three state championships in the same year, so we had to have been doing something right. I think.


When I suggest starting slowly, this actually involves some walking. If you are brand new to the sport, I would recommend starting with intervals. Run for one minute and then walk for four and repeat this four or five times. Do this every other day for a bit. Then you can tinker with the timing of the intervals as your stamina improves. By your fourth week of training perhaps you would be able to run for four minutes and walk for one for the same amount of repetitions. Continue to have grace for yourself. Starting anything new like this will not be comfortable at first, but know that you will always feel significantly better once you have run for even just a short amount of time. Though I struggle to get out the door sometimes, I have never returned from a run wishing I had skipped it. The endorphins are no joke. I do not drink any form of caffeine and I fully attribute that to the amount of time I spend running everyday. Starting your day with a run leaves you feeling refreshed and ready to conquer anything that comes your way. 


Once you have worked up to maybe 30 minutes of running with no or minimal breaks, maybe consider signing up for a nearby 5k race. Having something to work towards in the running world is excellent for motivation. Leading up to the race, lay off training a bit to taper, but start including 100 meter strides where you fully open up your stride. By the halfway point of the stride you should be close to your max speed, but still feeling comfortable. Variation in runs can also be helpful in spicing things up. Continue with intervals, go for a long but slow run, or even head down to the track and for a faster yet shorter run than usual to push yourself if that is something that interests you. 


Another important thing about running is doing so with friends, or training partners. Having other people to exercise with will inevitably motivate you and improve your discipline. I exercise with my mom everyday. We may not be going at the same pace the whole time, but having each other present keeps each of us going, even on days when one of us seriously does not want to go get after it. Don’t forget, misery (or discomfort in this case) likes company–if you are comfortable, it is likely that you are not growing.


I promise that once you make running a habit of yours, you will consider it a gift, too. Running is the perfect time to listen to your favorite music or podcasts, talk to someone on the phone, or even meditate. With discipline you will see many areas of your life improve as you make running a part of your weekly routine. 


If you have not already determined this, I could talk, or write, about running forever. So, if you have any questions feel free to reach out to me! I would love to instill my love for the sport in some of you readers!

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