Left: Photograph by Drew Reynolds; Right: Avery Publishing Group
Martinus Evans loves running for a reason. “You rarely need equipment to do it. You don’t need a gym membership. And it’s one such exercise that gives you so many cardiovascular benefits.”
As author of Slow AF Run Club: the definitive guide for those who want to run, Evans coaches runners of all types. “I think the biggest misconception when people think of running is that people think of professional athletes. So people think running should be fast, fast, [and] difficult.”
But Evans says running is for everyone: “It’s tough. [But] what I’m here to tell people is that you can run in the body you have now.”
Evans says that to start running, you don’t need to run very long or go very far: “You can do it with something as simple as running for 15 seconds and walking for a minute. It’s just about getting your heart rate up.”
Interview highlights from a recent interview with Life Kit host Marielle Segarra
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
How to find your shape as a new runner
“The first thing I think about is that a lot of people huddle when they run [their] fists. So, clenching your fist, you now have all the tension going through your forearms.
You want to make sure your hands are tightly closed. Imagine a pebble in your hand and you want that pebble to move freely, but you don’t want that pebble to fall out of your hands.
You wouldn’t believe how many people look at their feet while running. Don’t look down. You want to look at the horizon anywhere between six to eight feet in front of you.”
The importance of intentional breathing while running
“A lot of people breathe into their chest, where it stops right in their chest. And when people start running, they say, ‘I feel like I’m out of breath. I feel like I’m hyperventilating.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s because you’re not breathing deeply enough.’
You want to breathe with your belly. You want to make sure those breaths are coming down and you’re really moving that diaphragm as you run.
One of the exercises you can do to test it [is to] literally just place your hand on your belly as you breathe and see if your belly actually moves as you breathe. And if it is, you’re belly breathing.”
Finding your “sexy rhythm” while running
Sexy pace is where most of our running should be. And what it basically boils down to is a speed where you’re able to have a full, long conversation with someone and you’re still running.
Think about Baywatch like, you take it slow, you got the Baywatch music that goes, you feel sexy when you do.
Or another term for this is called conversational pace. A rhythm [where] you can have a conversation and not feel like you’re going to fall over.”
Equipment for new runners
“Definitely get a new pair of running shoes. Go to a running store. If you walk into one of these running stores and say, ‘Hey, I need a gait analysis’ or ‘Hey, I have need a proper shoe’, and they look at you like you have three heads growing out of your neck, that’s not the place for you.
If you have any shorts lying around, if you have any T-shirts lying around, start there, especially for your first few runs.
And then the last thing I usually like to tell people I coach is don’t wear cotton underwear or don’t wear anything cotton. Don’t wear cotton socks, you’ll get blisters and start to chafe in places where it will be extremely painful.”
Affirmations to help you get started
“The first mile and a half, it’s like the hardest mile and a half for me. Because I’m just starting out, I don’t want to do it. That’s when I start kicking in the mantras, like: No fight, no progress.
And then there are other things like A step at a time. Stay in the mile where you are right now. We can do difficult things.
I think repeating these mantras helps you rhythmically, but also keeps you in line to keep going.”
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