Master the Discipline of Running, Master the Discipline of Life Running Tips for Beginners
“Hello…I know you used to do long distance in school, I need running tips.”
“3 things Tadi, it’s about mental strength, physical strength and spiritual strength”
Ever since the lockdown regulations have adjusted to permit us to jog, my family decided that running was going to be our new religion. Three days of the week, we wake up at 6am and run for exactly 3,98 kilometres. My Dad takes the lead, my Mom right behind him and my sister runs with me in last place to keep me motivated.
We have purchased the nicest kits, acquired the correct footing gear and with our masks on we leave the house. All these things were in order yet after a month of exercising this same routine, I was still in last place running as slow as the first day. It made no sense.
So, I sought expert advice from an old mate of mine – the conversation above. He explained that physical strength is the easiest, you need to build core strength. On my rest days I committed to doing abdominal workouts and for certain that helped push me a little longer, I then only stopped at robots. Mental strength is about believing in your capabilities. “I can do this; I can do this!” I became my own hype squad, pushing myself to run to the next turn without stopping or maintaining my pace until the next robot.
Spiritual strength refers to the belief that we have power over our body. Being a couch potato or being the most disciplined athlete, training every day and winning marathons is something you can decide to change at your command – simply because it is your body. This is the most difficult of the three, it will take time.
In essence, running is not just about the summer body, it can be a means of conditioning mental strength and spiritual strength too.
Here are my tips to a fellow beginner:
1. Consistency is key. It used to be 15 degrees Celsius when we went out, now its four, sometimes -2 and we are still committed to our three days a week running schedule. It is said that it takes 21 days to build or break a habit. This has become my good habit.
2. Establish why you want to start running, that is what will get you out of bed when you are “just not feeling it” on that particular day. Having a mate or two to commit to the schedule with you will help as well. You will have that feeling of, I made a promise and I am not one to not stick to my word.
3. Take care of your body. Before you commit to the sport, watch some YouTube videos or seek expert advice on how to run properly. It does not have to be an expensive commitment. Things such as posture, pace, strides, pattern of breath all impact on how on your body will feel during the run and afterwards. There are numerous athletes sharing this information on their channels and blogs.
4. Protein, protein, more protein. Your muscles need assistance to repair themselves if you are constantly going to be working on them. Be kind to them. You can choose to have a raw egg or purchase a super pricey mixture of protein shake from your nearest pharmacist, it will get the job done.
5. Drink enough water, hydration helps keep all your body systems functioning as they should.
6. Stretch before and after your run. It reduces stiffness and you will not hate every person that makes you walk up a flight of stairs on your rest days.
“I think self-discipline is something, it’s like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.” Daniel Goldstein.
What I have learnt from running this past few months is that it takes a lot of discipline. Being committed despite the temperature or despite how I am feeling. It has truly tested my self-discipline. If we can adopt the level of grit, patience and commitment that it takes to get into running, we can improve our life profoundly.