The goal: To not view jogging as a device of torture
Here’s my issue with running: It’s terrible. The calf burning, the lungs of fire, wearing spandex leggings as pants—it all goes against my core belief system. I want to be good at it, though. I care about my heart, and I want to be fit. But as soon as I lace up my Adidas and hit the road, my body is in revolt: I can’t breathe. My calves instantly feel like the end of a night in stilettos with no bar stools. And my brain, rather than giving me encouragement, recites “This is impossible. This hurts. No. Stop. Stop now.” on a loop. I can’t run more than a few minutes before I give in and walk it out like a wimp.
The first fix, says Stanton, is to not go full-on right away. Instead of leaping out of my house and sprinting off down the street (effectively “shocking” my system), I need to ease myself into the zone. Warm it up a little. Get the heart pumping. “Never judge a run by the first 10 minutes,” he sagely adds.
The second fix is to alternate between running and fast walking instead of trying to run the entire route. Walking briskly will extend my stride and act like a light stretch. Plus, says Stanton, this will slow down my cardiovascular system and give it a bit of a rest, so when I start running again, I’ll feel more resilient. Brisk walking, or “active rest,” as he puts it, also helps dissipate lactic acid. Building up to running in this way “takes away the intimidation and makes it more attainable.”