We queried typical Singaporeans to find out why they took up running as a pastime and the answers we collected were heartwarming, sensible and in some cases, funny. The one that comes up most often is provided by those experiencing a “move it or lose it” epiphany delivered by a doctor or during a bout of self-realisation. Do you see the writing on the wall? The answer is probably yes if you’re reading this article.
People have taken up running to keep up with their partners, show kids that physical activity is important and also to pump up their social lives. You couldn’t believe the number of people who admitted to adopting a running lifestyle to make sure their “couch potato dogs” got proper exercise! Whatever your reason, welcome to your new world. Deciding to run is the first important step. We’re always here to help you take the next ones.
Find a place
Singapore is paradise for runners. The nation has carved out so many athlete-friendly areas, you might call our city-state a model for how to undertake urban planning. Because so many areas are set aside for runners already – corridors, reservoirs, tracks, parks – your first job is to find one that’s nearest your home or your job.
If you pick a place that’s located too far from your routine, you’re going to find ways to sabotage your effort every time you’re crunched for time or the weather changes.
Outfit your body
No need to hit either GQ or Shape magazines for tips on wardrobe. All you need are a couple of separates to take you where you need to go – running route, gym or enough sets of stairs to give you a good workout. There is one garment women should be fastidious about buying: a good sports bra.
For beginners of both sexes, the right running shoe can mean the start of a fabulous new fitness regimen or a very short one if you’re plagued by everything from blisters to shin splints.
Walk first; run later
One’s commitment to start running is often launched with such enthusiasm, it’s easy to overdo. Like a new love affair, you really, really want to pour yourself into that person! But overdoing is like buying the wrong running shoes: It could lead to quitting, so take it easy and pick three days a week where your schedule gives you some wiggle room.
Mark your calendar and take a 10-minute power walk each day. No more. No less. Stretch your muscles before you begin to warm up. Repeat those stretches when you finish. Gradually increase your 10-minute power walk to 20 minutes.
Increase your activity level
Once you can take a brisk 20-minute walk without getting winded, intersperse bursts of running in-between walking so you run two minutes and walk two minutes – again, stretching out the times as you grow more comfortable with this interchange of pacing.
Enhance your pre-run ritual by adding five minutes of stretching exercises before and after you run so you continue to prepare your muscles adequately for the running and recovery process.
Add variety to your life…
…in the form of Pilates, strength training, yoga or cross-training designed to complement your new running programme, enhance your flexibility, range of motion and condition your calves, hamstrings, thighs and hips. If you have yet to start focusing on your breathing, now is the time.
How to determine whether you’re overdoing it on your running route and/or in the gym? If you can’t utter the words to the “Happy Birthday” song aloud four times in a row without panting like an Akita, you’re running too hard. Slow down and keep undertaking the Happy Birthday test to assess your progress. No, you don’t have to sing! Talking aloud will do.
Book a gait analysis
It’s time to learn more about form and nothing substitutes for a running analysis. You can get this test throughout Singapore by turning to resources like Physioactive, GoPhysio, Singapore Physio or use the municipal resource, Sport Singapore, to find a proper gait assessment resource. Like a great pair of running shoes, a workup by these professionals can help you avoid future injury.
Singapore’s running community welcomes newbies and welcomes back “returnees” with great enthusiasm. By joining a running club, you receive more than companionship. It’s been awhile since we profiled running clubs eager for new members, but start with our suggestions and it won’t take long to find your running home. Team members are diverse groups; find everyone from beginners to advanced. Advice from experienced team members is invaluable (and free!).
Stay healthy and tune in
Take your new skill to the next level by registering for a marathon. Don’t be scared! Bookmark our running calendar page for a look at what’s down the pike and begin with a 5km event. Watch your attitude at this point. If you think you know everything there is to know about running think again.
Aches and pains are warnings, not suggestions! Left unattended, your cavalier attitude could position you for an injury. And if you haven’t discovered the benefits of adding motivational tunes to your run, what are you waiting for? Need a guide to equipment? We’ve got your back here, too.
What’s the craziest, most bizarre reason you’ve heard for why someone took up running? We can always use a good laugh around here, so send us your wildest reasons and thanks in advance for livening up our day!