They lurk everywhere like zombies ready to roam Singapore streets, scaring the wits out of the runners they meet. No, we’re not referring to the undead. We’re referring to silly folks who wouldn’t run unless their lives depended upon it — and in some cases, not even fright is enough to motivate them! They give you pathetic excuses. Some are valid (injury or incapacitation). Others are lame (My toenails are wet). We decided to find out what is stopping this clandestine universe of couch potatoes from joining us on the track in the hopes you may step in and help them change their behaviours.
Tan Has No Time
She’s got three wristwatches to prove she’s so overly-scheduled and perpetually frazzled, even a five-minute deviation from her daily schedule is enough to push her into a full-blown anxiety attack. What’s the truth? Tan can’t manage her time, mostly because she has no clue what benefits running would bring and the power running can have over the way her time is managed.
We hope Tan wises up and trades at least one of those watches in for the latest FitBit so she discovers the wonders of running before her health literally runs out of time.
Timothy Is Too Tired
Upon arriving at Tim’s apartment, you look around and realise that it hasn’t been cleaned in weeks. There are fast food carry away boxes everywhere and Tim’s favourite reclining chair has a crater the size of the MacRitchie Reservoir in the middle, because he hasn’t moved from that spot of late.
Why is he tired? He eats junk. He doesn’t run. His doctor has given him many warnings, but he tunes them out. If you know Tim wannabes, how about risking an intervention? Dig up some statistics about mortality rates in people who ignore healthy eating and running, show your concern and you might convince him to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Yi Ling Says It’s Too Boring!
The girl doesn’t know what she’s talking about, so it’s up to those of us who have mastered the techniques of the “non-boring run” to pick her up (literally) and show her our tricks so she realises that running is anything but boring.
Introduce Yi Ling to members of your running club over tea or a meal. Programme her electronic devices with a hot new tune guaranteed to get her moving. Take her shopping. Running fashion is so sexy and fun these days, the right outfit has been known to turn the laziest person on your speed dial into a running maniac!
Martin Isn’t Motivated
You’ve met Martin, right? He has nothing positive to say about anything; as a matter of fact, he’s what a former U.S. Vice President called a “nattering nabob of negativism”. Martin’s lack of motivation could have many causes: self-esteem issues. Fear of looking foolish. Maybe he’s so afraid that he can’t measure up to the running performances of others that he won’t even try.
How can you motivate a Martin? By introducing him to running in an out-of-the-way place where nobody but a trusted friend (that’s you) accompanies him on a walk that accelerates to an easy run. Repeat as often as necessary. No pressure! Let Martin get there on his own once you convince him of your ongoing support.
Fatimah Would Rather Do Something Else
Anything else. She’s what we call run-phobic. Perhaps she was scared by a bib-wearing marathoner as a toddler, so even the thought of putting on shoes makes her break out in hives. Maybe she is worried about falling when there’s nobody around to help her. These are a few of the hidden reasons people who would rather do anything but run take a pass on such opportunities.
Fatimah requires tender loving care. She has no clue that even a short run has the capacity to brighten her outlook and make her feel physically and mentally fit. Your job is to be persistent. Eventually, she is going to run out of “something else’s”, at which time, be ready to introduce Fatimah to your favourite activity.
Michelle Says She’s Too Hot!
She is gorgeous, but sadly, we’re not referring to her movie star looks that make her stand out in a crowd. But Michelle uses Singapore’s weather as an excuse to avoid indulging in a sport she would probably love once she got the hang of it.
Here’s a tip to help her see that running is cool in so many ways: Lure her out when the weather isn’t sultry and humid, and give her some incentive to take a brisk walk that leads to a slow jog and then a full run. Michelle loves attention, so if you can figure out where an endless parade of hot guys train and run and take her there, she might find that she has so much to observe, she forgets about the temperature.
Muthu Is Too Busy
His boss needs him. His wife can’t manage without him. Even his dog acts out when he doesn’t get home at the appointed time! What’s a friend to do when Muthu needs an outlet like running more than most?
Make him a generous offer of your time. When it’s dog walking time, show up and introduce Muthu to the joys of running with a pet that might be as eager as Muthu is to let off some steam. Shop the Internet to find baby strollers designed just for runners so he can take his toddler for a pre-dinner run. There are unlimited options for those too busy to run — but it takes a good friend to spend time sleuthing them out.
Sarah Is Too Self-Conscious To Run
She would love to join her friends, relatives and neighbours and indulge in Singapore’s favourite sport, but she has body image issues, is fearful others will judge her appearance, technique or performance. She requires understanding, empathy and your friendship.
Time to introduce Sarah to runners who have overcome the same issues so she doesn’t feel alone. Introduce her to a gradual run in a place that’s fairly isolated so she can feel free and comfortable. She may never feel confident about running in the presence of others, but by showing Sarah that you care enough to try, that could help boost her ego!
What’s Your Reason?
It’s not unusual for a runner to exclaim, “I wish I had become involved in this activity earlier!” It happens, and the case studies described above represent the eight biggest reasons people don’t run.
If you think back to your pre-run days, can you find the one that best describes why you didn’t take up running earlier than you did?