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  • Writer's pictureMichael Van Elsberg

On Running

Updated: Oct 9, 2021

I started running at the beginning of the first big running craze that followed the publication of the Complete Book of Running by Jim Fixx in 1977. It pains me to admit that--partly because it gives away my age and partly because I really never got very good at it. Seriously.

Bruce Lee called running the king of exercise and boxers call it, simply, roadwork. It is arguably one of the best things you can do to improve your health and fitness. All you need are an adequately good pair of shoes and the time to do it. But I've always thought of running as a necessary evil that I did in order to be in better shape for other things. Like any form of exercise, running can all too easily become a chore. This is why I personally never liked (or like) to run on a treadmill or on a track. For one thing, I want to go somewhere.

Being outdoors, on the other hand, is a major reason why I moved to the Pacific Northwest and walking, hiking and running the trails here can be life changing. I still don't self-identify as a runner but I'm capable now of running for hours at a time. And most of all, I just love being out there. Trust me, any reasonably healthy person can gradually work their way up to a marathon or an ultra (technically, anything greater than a marathon distance). But, honestly you don't need to do that. There's a lot of science that says that the first 20 minutes is where you get the most benefit, so even running a few miles several times a week can be one of the best ways to give yourself a complete transformation. I'm also an advocate for strength training and doing a variety of different things to keep active and stay in shape.

As good as running is, however, the best training is anything you will repeatedly do--that is, whatever it is that you can find that you can make into a real habit. So, find a place where you can enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors and start with a walk if that's what you have to do. But, at the very least, get up and move.

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