How To Run A Mile When You’re Not A Runner
So to begin…I’m not a runner.
Running to me had always seemed like trudging through mud.
So to run a mile, which in Aussie terms is 1.6kms never was something I was particularly interested in (even though it’s really not that far!).
I used to dread this run back in high school when our P.E teachers put us through fitness tests every few months or so. I was never athletic or particularly sporty growing up and have never felt that I was ever a good runner. I thought my legs were just too short and weak to be any good for running.
There were times I’d get on a bit of ‘fit stint’ and drag myself for a jog around the park, willing myself to keep jogging the whole way. But it never quite happened and I always quit before I could see any progression.
Cut to today.
I still don’t do a lot of cardio in my workouts, but sometimes I do feel like a jog on the treadmill to give my legs and lungs a good run.
Today, I decided to start my workout with a jog and deliberately jogged 1.6km to see how long I could do it in. Back in my high school days, I wouldn’t even attempt to jog the whole way so I would end up walking most of it. If recall correctly, I used to do it in around 15 or 16 minutes (I think that’s really slow).
Today, I jogged 1.6km in 10 minutes and 40 seconds.
And I thought…that’s not bad!
After doing a bit of research about run times, it seems that 10 minutes is the average run time for females in my age group.
YIPPEE! I’m average!
Considering I don’t consciously do any cardio training, it was actually a really nice indication that my body is stronger, fitter and my lung capacity has clearly gotten better. Not only that, my mindset about exercising and fitness has shifted significantly over the years.
So how do you run a mile when you’re not a runner?
If you’re starting from a place of not exercising much at all, I’d suggest starting off nice and slow. That might mean going for a 10 minute walk. Then you may want to pick up the pace and increase the intensity to an interval jog ie. 1 minute of a slow jog, 1 minute walk. And you can eventually work up to 1 minute sprint, 1 minute walk. This is a great way to increase your stamina and endurance.
Though not a cardio-focused workout, weight training will assist in building lean muscle. I’ve found this has helped significantly in the strength through my legs when running – to the point where it feels quite effortless to run. This was never the case when I was more sedentary. Focus on strengthening those big muscle groups like your glutes, hamstrings and quads, as well as a strong focus on core strength and stabilisation (pilates is great for this!). I’m a big fan of weight training. I do about 5 sessions a week focusing on a different muscle group each workout.
Change your mindset.
One of the biggest hurdles in my way of actually enjoying the occasional jog or run has been my perspective on running. I had always focused on the difficulty I used to feel both breathing and also muscle pain in my legs. I imagined myself struggling through the jog and running out of breath. No wonder I had never liked the experience of running!
I began to shift my perspective by focusing on the benefits of doing this type of exercise, like increased cardiovascular health and long lean limbs. I also began to imagine myself running with ease, feeling light as a feather and breathing with a constant and rhythmic breath pattern. OH how this made a HUGE difference.
This is my experience of jogging now.
Don’t get me wrong, I have moments where it feels tough, but as soon as I feel it come on I quickly shift my focus on the more positive feelings of lightness and leanness.
Back when I was a teen, I never would have imagined I would be the healthy and fit person I am today. It just goes to show you that no matter where you’re at in your journey, you CAN make progress. Challenge yourself to be a healthier, fitter and better version of yourself, if for no other reason than feeling awesome!
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