TL;DR of this post – Run.
Running is an activity that is often passed off as something that doesn’t deserve attention since it does not require any special skill, and one that can be performed by any human being with functional limbs. It comes to us almost naturally, and most of us have had to run at some point in our lives – be it from dogs chasing us, as part of a race, or to make it to an exam in time (and for tons of other reasons!). One would find it hard not to imagine what running must feel like.
But if you were to think of it, how many times have you consciously pushed yourself to run a bit further (and farther)? Running has mostly been treated as an activity to do something, but never as an end in itself, I believe.
That’s where this post comes in.
A brief history
A couple of years ago, I took some inspiration from some of my friends who were into long-distance running and who’d always made me wonder why they were so enthusiastic about…just running. I thought of giving it a fair chance and seeing first-hand what the fuss was about…
…and well, here you see me a couple of years down the line writing about running and trying hard to promote it!
After coming to the Netherlands, I’ve seen that a significant number of people are involved in endurance sports like rowing and long-distance running, and I must say that it’s quite inspiring! Having been into it a few years now, I feel quite at home seeing people pushing their limits for the joy of doing it.
But of course, then comes the first question for first-timers – how do I start?
Every person’s different, biologically speaking, and everyone has their own limits; but as with any other activity, it makes sense to start out small in running. One can’t wake up one fine morning and run a half marathon right away!
I’m not sure of the exact advantages of tracking runs, but using apps like Nike Run Club or Strava has certainly helped me run longer and farther over time. One needn’t be precise about the timing or distance, but having some benchmarks definitely helps!
First, you start running and run till you feel exhausted, and then check the distance covered. That’s what you can beat the next time.
After a couple days or so of recovery, you start running again with the aim of beating the previous target, and push yourself a bit until you beat it and cover about 5 to 10% more in terms of distance. Sounds simple in theory, but it’s easier said than done!
You get the idea though. Little by little, you become fitter, happier, more productive, and comfortable.
The previous strategy was purely on the distance front – one may do it for time, for speed, or for endurance as well. It depends on how you interpret progress!
You can then add more variations, like running with music, running with a trainer, running with intermediate sprints, and so on. But once you start running, it’s unlikely you’d want to stop unless you really want to or are forced to.
I must vouch for the runner-friendly experience in the Netherlands. It is quite a joy to run around on the streets, by the canals, and in the beautiful parks!
Though correlation and causation are often confused, research does say something about the benefits of running. Besides, anecdotal as it may sound, I can’t put in words the elevated feeling you can get after running for a long stretch. It is quite a stress reliever too, especially during exams and before crucial deadlines – though it seems counter-intuitive that you’re already short on time but you spend it on running, trust me, it does help!
So yes, go out and run!
P.S. The Batavierenrace is an interesting event for student runners!