What happens when your new running habit isn’t going so well? You just don’t enjoy it. Your body aches. What can you do to keep going? Anahad O’Connor, Well reporter, spoke with Dr. Jordan Metzl, a sport medicine doctor about how you can turn a hatrd of running into a passion. Here’s what he had to say:
Surprisingly, it’s not uncommon to start hating running. Dr. Metzl, who treats hundreds of athletes of all ages and ability, says he sees two types of runners: Those who love it, and those who don’t.
For those who don’t, there are ways to make running more enjoyable and less of a physical or mental pain. Dr. Metzl’s suggestions: Join a running group. Listen to the news while you run – or your music, or a good audio book.
There are also fun and free-spirited running events like the “Color Run,” the so-called happiest 5K on the planet, which takes place in cities across the globe. “Whatever it takes to get you going – don’t be shy,” Dr. Metzl says. “Whatever makes you smile and enjoy running, do that!”
If you find running to be a pain, literally, then change your mechanics. Shorten your running stride, which causes much less stress on your knees, hips and back. Ideally your foot should strike the ground between 75 and 80 times per minute, Dr. Metzl says. For any walkers reading this, shorter strides and a higher cadence is just as beneficial. “In our lab at the hospital, we are constantly trying to get runners to shorten their strides as one of the major causative factors around injury prevention,” Dr. Metzl says.
Be sure to strength train too. There are two idealized body types for running. For women, it’s roughly 5 feet tall and 100 pounds. For men, it’s roughly 5 foot 6 and 130 pounds. If you don’t fit that body type, then chances are you need stronger muscles. “Strength training for runners builds support around the skeleton, reduces joint loading forces, improves running economy and reduces injury risk,” Dr. Metzl says. “All of these things make running more enjoyable.”
Hope you find a way to get out and run with a smile on your face.