Much to my chagrin, I have recently taken up running as a lifestyle modification and exercise activity. Ever since I sprained both of my ankles after a two-week tryout of cross country running in the 7th grade, I have looked upon the activity with great prejudice, particularly at the “gotta love the pain (e.g. endorphins)” attitude of “serious” runners. However, especially with my fiancée’s recently commitments to regular exercise and explorations in running, I have come to recognize that running can be a form of exercise that isn’t entirely masochistic. I have long assumed that my asthma would limit my ability to do cardiopulmonary workouts and endurance training, but this has probably been mostly an excuse rather than a legitimate reason given my otherwise healthy and fit state. I plan to start slow and easy and gradually work up to reasonable, arbitrary goals of my own choosing. I do not plan to run races or marathons, but I do plan to have fun, especially in viewing running as a way of getting places rather than just as a workout.
In reflecting upon starting this habit, though, I’ve found that getting into a new form of exercise (the right way) can be quite expensive. On previous occasions when I have run, I have never had the proper shoes, leaving me with sore feet in addition to sore legs and a sore back. I also never had truly comfortably exercise clothing made for running. Lastly, I never ran with a pedometer or some other method of tracking my progress. There’s no doubt about it: running is ridiculously boring without amazing and constantly changing scenery, a conversational running partner, or an iPod with good workout music. In order to truly motivate myself to accept this new activity, it has been very important to have the right equipment, which makes me wonder how we (doctors) can hope to motivate others to adopt many forms of exercise if they do not have sufficient funds. There certainly are types of exercise that are cheap and easy to adopt, but others (like running, cycling, gym classes, etc.) do cost a fair amount of money.
My equipment so far:
• Brooks Adrenaline GTS 8 running shoes – Tried these on with the help of the nice folks at Phidippides, a specialty running shop in Metairie, LA. These may be some of the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. Apparently I am a mild overpronator, meaning my arches are slightly flat and require some stabilization, “motion control,” and “support.” These shoes address that issue and are furthermore sized slightly wider than most shoes, allowing my claustrophobic toes to rest happily without having too much wiggle room in length (like most of my other shoes).
• Champion C9 exercise clothes – Helps keep me cool and dry on a hot, sweaty New Orleans day.
• iPod Touch with “Pedometer” and some rockin’ running mixes – Having high-energy music can really help the mind take on greater challenges!
Believe it or not, despite my sore quadriceps muscles that impeded my ability to walk up and down stairs today, I am actually looking forward to a light run tomorrow. And it is not because of the endorphins.