Article by Mel Hagn

Before I became a runner, I always looked at the people zipping by me like something was seriously wrong with them. Why would anyone think running 5 or 10 or even 21k is fun? It boggled my mind. But somehow I was intrigued.

So many people love running, there are 3-4 organized races every month in Montreal alone. If people are actually willing to pay money to run, there must be something to it.

There are of course the health benefits:

Did you know that regular running – even only 10-15 minutes a day – can reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease ? That running not only works your legs but also your core? And it actually strengthens your joints – even if you run regular half marathons, your risk of developing osteoarthritis is reduced & is about 50% lower than if you don’t run at all.
So there you have some of the health reasons. Plus it’s pretty much free. You don’t need a gym. Grab your shoes and go. Anyplace, anytime.
But that alone can’t be it, can it? Can you make yourself run 30/40/120 minutes just so you are less likely to die from a heart attack than your chain smoking next door neighbor?!

I would say no. So this is where the so-called “runner’s high” comes in. Which I have to be honest, takes some time to kick in. My first run was pure misery. I don’t even know why I went out there again. But I did.

This is the whole thing about running: it takes a bit of time to get into it, but then it’s going to grow on you like foot fungus.

So how does one start running?!

Of course you can just put your sneakers on, start running and see how far you get. This might not be the ideal way for people who have never run in their whole life.

There are lots of training plans out there, most combine running and walking. You can download an app that guides you through the process, or just google ‘5k training’ and pick whatever comes up first. To make it easier to get into running, sign up for a local race, ask some friends to join you. It is much more fun to share a goal.
And the good thing is, you can run together and motivate each other. You won’t bail out on your training  if you know your friend is waiting for you.

So get dust off your sneakers and get out there – you won’t regret it!