Photo + words: Xiaohan Shen
February is fast approaching and I’m holding tightly onto my new year’s resolution, which is as always, to eat healthier and exercise more. Also as always, that’s easier said than done, but all things are possible with a little help, even if they are from the internet. I’ve tried jogging many times, at difference periods of my life, but until very recently I always hated it. I always thought I was just bad at jogging. I swam a lot when I was little, my dad kinda forced me into being a good swimmer, but as a “grown up”, swimming is a hassle. It needs to fall on a hair washing day, you get pruney skin and that meant I came up with excuses not to go.
I started trying jogging again last winter, I bought tights from Skins and everything and I still hated it, after a few tries which always ended with me feeling like my lungs were going to collapse, I gave up once again. In December last year, I started again, this time I started with google. I always thought I was just bad at jogging, that my body’s not suited to it, but that’s bullocks, we are all descendants of hunter gatherers, running is in our DNA. So I found a few good articles on google about jogging for beginners, I also read a bunch of forum threads where experienced runners gave their advice. I concentrated on breathing techniques, but all these talks of 3,2; 6,4; or whatever they are just confused the hell out of me. In the end, the advice from the forums struck a cord. Time and time again, experienced runners said the 4 same things to people taking up jogging. 1, Go slow, so slow that you are almost walking. 2, Breathe through both your nose and mouth, the more air the better. 3, Don’t bounce, stride low and forward, don’t waste energy on running like they do in TV ads. 4, Push a little every time, even if only by 50m.
Off I went with 4 pieces of simple advice and I’m so happy to say that I’m still jogging, at least once a week! Those little things, especially going slow were crucial, it made all the difference, it meant my chest didn’t hurt after 2 minutes. The other crucial thing is 4, Push a little every time. Towards the end of your jog, when you feel like your legs will give way and you simply must stop, push on a little more. Tell yourself, you’ll stop at that tree, when you get there, tell yourself you’ll stop at the next tree. Do this at least 3 times on every jog. This way you are slowly pushing into your pain barrier and in time you’ll recognise it and hurdle over it. I know this from my swimming, but because I’m so confident with my swimming and I push through it every time that it doesn’t faze me, with jogging though, I’m only just beginning to recognise the barrier.
The other thing that helps is Nike+, a surprising little bugger. An old Wired article said if you do at least 5 jogs with Nike+, you’ll be hooked and continue on. I love how I can compare stats of my runs and see the difference a happy mood makes. More than the stats though, it gives you a sense of progress when you can’t quite see it on your body, it also gives you reassurance by letting you connect with friends, set goals and give you a little medal or a star from time to time. Not much different from getting a gold star at kindergarten, but every little bit helps. These days you don’t even need a pair of Nike shoes with Nike+ sensor, all you need is an iphone and the Nike+ app and it’ll track your jogs all the same.
Sure I’ve only managed to go up to a 2km jog, but it’s still early days and I’m so glad that I still enjoy it. Sometimes there’s just nothing like the great outdoors. So get on ya feet and let’s go for a jog!
Get your Nike Lunarglide 4 from here.