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How long before I love to run?
I've only recently finally gotten into the habit of exercise. It's been a long time coming and a lot of failed attempts at making it habitual. But as of now I am fairly confident that I can keep this going. If I ever go more than two days without exercising I can feel the effects and I immediately get going again.

Right now I'm doing a few different work outs, and as it stands I'm running 3 days a week. But I hate it. Well, that's almost the case. I find myself craving a run during the day, but when I'm actually out there on the road, I'm hating it. I wonder, for any runners out there, how long before this ends and I'll start craving it more and more? ideally I would like to run 5 or 6 days a week.

Perhaps it's a gradual process and as long as I stay dedicated to at least 3 times a week it'll change. But does anyone have any tips for enjoying their runs more? I find I can't really concentrate on music as a distraction from the workout, maybe I'll try a book on tape or a comedian?

And also, as a sidenote, is it dangerous for the knees and legs to sprint on concrete?
Clark - First, there are two books you must read...one old and one new.  Don't NOT read them.  You'll thank me when you do.  The first is "Elements of Effort" by John Jerome.  When Jerome died a few years ago the New York Times obit called him the Best Writer Nobody Knew.  I agree with that.  "Elements" a bunch of anecdotal peices about running that will teach you, delight you, spur you on. 

The second, just out, is "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall.  Don't be put off by the simplicity and pedestrian (no pun intended) nature of the title.  This book, I predict, will be a classic and a best seller.  It's about running in the extreme, for sure.  It's also about new findings and new thinking in the discipline (running is far more than a sport).  It's also, about life and what it means to be human.  "Born" will introduce you to some of the most delightful and unimaginable characters you've ever encountered. 

Before I get to your specifiic question, let me establish my credentials.  I've been running for over thirty years...probaby over 60,000 miles.  I'm a veteran of 25 marathons with a personal best of 3:08 when I was forty, and 4 fifty mile ultra marathons.  

Now, to your questions.  You will probably only ever "love to run" on occasion.  I think most veterans will tell you that.  What you will find is that you'll get to the point where you can't not do it.  And that where you want to be.  Being a dedicated and disciplined long distant runner will simply change your life.  It will make you healthier...physically, mentally and emontionally.  It will put you in touch with like minded people who will both nourish you and give you sustenance.  It will, better than anything I know, put you in touch with you body and, as a result, your mind and spirit, as well.

Regarding your questions about sprinting on concrete...no, it won't hurt your knees.  But rather than elaborate on that, I, again, urge you to read "Born to Run."  The big answer to your question found there will surprise you.  Why, by the way, would you want to sprint anywhere at this point?

And about earphones and all the other gadgetry...ditch then.  Ditch them and pay attention.  Listen to your body, watch your surroundings, meditate on the run.  You don't need Morning Edition or the Hit Parade to be a runner.  In fact, they are an impediment. 

Hope this has been helpful. 
Books Discussed
The Elements of Effort: Reflections on the Art and Science of Running
by John Jerome
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
by Christopher McDougall

I don't know much about running personally, but I did hear it is very bad to run on concrete, and I know several people who's knees got damaged by it. It might be Rob that you need to know what you are doing. You obviously know how to run (very impressive by the way), so maybe with the right technique concrete is not at all bad, but with the wrong technique, and almost anybody I know who runs, runs with a bad technique, it can definitely cause knee problems.

I can't say I'm a big gym person, but at some point when going to the gym regularly I really liked the elliptical trainer as it is very soft on the joints.



Of course if you don't have a gym (school, your building, otherwise) you can get one for home but the good ones are a bit costly. Still, it's much cheaper than a gym membership, or wrecking your knees.
It might be less fun than running outside, but that depends.

There were some good ideas on what you can do while exercising. Sometimes music is definitely nice, but I think Rob suggestions are much nicer and there is a reason why he continues to run for many years while most other people stop quickly.
Thanks for the advice and with every week I'm getting more and more into the hang of it. Those books look interesting and I'll go look them up at the library sometime in the next few weeks.

But as I have flat feet and can feel the pounding of the concrete on my knees pretty heavily almost every time I run, I'm wondering where I might go to look for advice about avoiding injury. And to the question of why would I want to sprint at all, I think sprinting is fun, and I read short bursts of intense running will help my overall performance. It's always enjoyable to test how fast I can run, and then just push a little harder. I rarely get to pretend I'm flying in my adult life.

I like your advice about not listening to anything while running though, I think that will put me more in touch with my body and my breath as I'm going along.

thanks again
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Latest Post: September 17, 2010 at 1:54 PM
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