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social settings
healthy lifestyle
goal setting
rest of the day
losing weight
self esteem
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To successfully embark on, and, in order to maximize the benefits from running as a form of exercise to keep fit and healthy, and enjoy a healthy lifestyle and wellbeing, requires a judicious balance of four processes. To be a runner, you will have to engage yourself in them. They are: motivation, outfitting, goal setting, and, proper dieting with necessary rest. Each requires the application of different rules and modus operandi, and each has its special challenge, quirk and foible, and for this reason I will call each a “strike”.

In the following pages, these four “strikes” will be developed. However, in order not to “stress” my readers, the discussion of these “strikes” will be divided into two parts, namely, Part1 which will consist of the “strikes” one and two; and Part 2, which will be concerned with “strikes” three and four.

Part 1

Strike One - Motivation

Running itself is a motivator, both internally and externally, i.e. you come up with the desire on your own and it only matters to you personally (internal), or, you find the reason outside yourself and you do not have to tell yourself to go running(external). Why do I run? Literally and figuratively, you run for your life –your physical, psychological and mental life! Runners get a feeling of an “inner high”, a feeling of satisfaction and one of feeling great.

Running puts you in a better positive mind-set and your life gets transformed from a possibly unhealthy one to a very healthy one. It improves your self esteem thus improving you psychologically, and leaves you more motivated for the rest of the day. Running is a stress reducing means and therefore your running time becomes a de-stressing drill.

Much motivation about running comes to many because they want to lose weight. Losing weight is important to maintain one's health and to sustain a person's sense of comfort and confidence in social settings. The exercise which running provides is one means of doing this, but to be fully effective in weight loss, running has to be combined with proper dieting. What is significant however is that after the desired weight loss is achieved, there is often no thought of stopping or reducing the effort. In fact, in many cases, running activities increase – and so begins the external motivation!

Not only are the physical effects actually discernible (weight loss!), but probably your own experience, and, certainly from what you hear about the benefits of running, the motivation continues to do so. Those benefits to your general health abound and who would want to miss out on a healthy, longer life, with a continuous feeling of “wellbeing”. Your running is going to allow you to continue to: * Manage your weight. * Maintain and improve your health; * Reduce risks of diseases such strokes, breast cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, hypertension; * Promotes the Human Growth Hormone and keeps us looking young;. * Prevents muscle and bone loss.

You will also feel much more energetic and you will be improving the capabilities of your body to recover from common sicknesses and diseases – and you will be much more productive at the work place!

Strike Two – Getting Running Gear

This will be the second item of business and, to a large extent, determines much of your longevity in running. It requires the outmost attention to detail the most important factor being one of comfort. There are two elements in this, namely, the clothes you wear, and the shoes in which you run (the fact that some people are strong proponents of barefoot running will be ignored here!).

For the first, this will be largely a matter of common sense exercised on a conditional level. If you are going to run under temperate conditions where you probably will be perspiring a lot, then obviously, for the “comfort” factor, you will go for relatively light clothing with minimum covering of the body, i.e. shorts and T-Shirts. If however, running is going to be performed under less than temperate conditions, i.e. cold/wintery conditions, then the usual heavy sweat suit like attire, will be more practical.

While we can be a bit casual and “stylish” about our running attire, the same cannot be our attitude towards our footwear, that is, our running shoes. It is on the running shoes we wear that many of our good intentions and desire to take up running as our method of exercise founders. Your running shoes can contribute to a running style that is not sustainable. In fact many people have give up on running because of how hard it seems to have become, some even without exaggeration, having to get fitted with artificial limbs, that is, knees and hips!

The primary reason why shoes makes running difficult is due to the fact that normally, with every step, the heel strikes the ground first certainly severely “jars” our knee and hip joints. The running shoes that we therefore wear should serve the purpose of ameliorating this, cushioning each step and allowing the natural shock-absorbing action of muscles and joints to work better. ).

For the purpose of determining which shoes are best suited for you, factors such as whether you are flat-footed, high arched or in-between become extremely important. The type of shoes you will need will also be determined by the kind of surface on which you will be running and thus knowing where you will be running is essential in determining the shoes you choose. Shoes used in cross country for example, are heavy and bulky, while ordinary track shoes will not last long on a harsh rugged terrain. Additionally, performance level is a factor.

The running beginner needs more protection than amore advanced runner as the latter has developed stronger muscles and therefore needs less rubber interspersed between there feet and the running surface. There will also be a trade-off between durability and softness, the former kind being less comfortable than the latter. Budget will also be a factor, but whatever the overall position, ultimately the choice will have to be made by you.

You should therefore go to a proper sports shop with knowledgeable staff who can advise you what you need, and buy a good pair of running shoes. Don't try to run in anything else, and don't skimp on the investment. New Balance running shoes are touted by many, but for whatever the reason you have purchased any particular brand, if your running shoes are not comfortable, change them! – or they will change your running intentions in ways which adversely affect you and your commitment to running!

The matter of healthy dieting and sufficient rest will be later discussed.

Street Talk

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