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Running culture never ceases to confuse and amaze. Most runners claim to have a love-hate relationship with the sport, and for those who have never taken it up, the practice baffles them. Runners say they love it, that it relieves stress and creates a zen escape like nothing else they have ever tried, while others of comparably good fitness seem to have trouble running for a block or two. So what is it that makes running so great? We spoke to three women who have been running for as long as they can remember to give you some innovative advice on running, performance, and how to make the most of the time you spend hitting the pavement:
Don't lose hope after your first run:
Lets be honest, your first run will probably suck. "Running is something that really takes time", says Tricia Bachman, who has been running for over 20 years. Be prepared for your first run to feel like it took an entire day and every ounce of energy you have, and be prepared to feel really out of shape. Expect heavy breathing, muscle cramping, and just general inability to catch your breath. "Running is something that really taught me discipline from a young age". "Having to push through the grunt work of being a runner was a tall order, but it really helped me apply that perseverance to other aspects of my life."
Elizabeth Gladney: GoodLife Half Marathon
You will be acutely aware of all the noise in your head:
We are constantly thinking a mile a minute, and when running, this becomes even more apparent. One of the major reasons why those with high stress jobs love to run is because it quiets down the mind. "When you're running, you can't really think of anything else. Each time my foot hits the pavement I can feel a little bit of the stress melting away, a little bit of the worry in my life becoming more managable", says Elizabeth, a 40km a week runner and 3-time half marathoner . "Running is my elixir. Some people meditate or do yoga to clear their minds, for me I run. If I need to have a difficult conversation or prep for a presentation or speech, I’ll head out on my own and sort it out by the time I’m back."
You'll realize just how important the proper gear is:
"When I'm running, the most important thing for me is to be able to forget about everything else" says Holly Bachman, high school track star. "Being able to run without thinking about the way your clothing is moving or how good the shoes you're wearing are is really freeing. I usually go for Under Armours Qualifier Woven running jacket (pictured below). I find these make a huge difference in my performance and comfort level."
You'll surprise yourself:
"The crazy thing about running is you'll never know what you can achieve until you've pushed yourself", says Tricia. "On a whim, I decided 4 days before, to enter a race that if I won my age category I would qualify to go to France for the World Championships. I won my age category and my 3 children and husband were at the finish line hugging me because now we could go to France! We were all very surprised and excited but it's a moment I won't forget. There were definitely a few tears." Perhaps your suprise might not be the World Championships, but any type of incremental improvement will go a long way to inspire and keep you running.
Tricia and Holly Bachman
You will never feel prouder:
"The resilience I’ve built as a runner has shaped my choices and behaviour outside of running – in both my personal and professional life. I have an incredible amount of stick-to-it ness which has been formed and enhanced by running. I will never give up on any challenge", says Elizabeth. "Running has really changed me, has made me more determined, given me grit and drive to achieve the things that I want while keeping me focused", says Holly.
"I think that when it comes to running, the pros so heavily outweight the cons that I couldn't imagine it not being a part of my life. Everytime I don't feel like running, everytime I feel like it's too hard or I'm too tired, I think of everything that running has given me. I think about the clarity, the rhythm of my breathing, footsteps, cadence...the way I feel and how it clears my head. I think about all the positives , and it always compels me to lace up my shoes."
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