-"What kind of dog was that? I think an English Springer Spaniel..."
-"That dog looks really fast."
-"That dog is totally pulling his owner and not the other way around."
True, true, and true. Recently though, on several running outings with Rocco, I've overheard people say "I wish I was a runner, ::Fido:: would LOVE to run like that." You wish you were a runner? How do you know that you're not? I don't understand this statement at all. Obviously if you are walking on the greenway you are physically capable of... yes... walking. Well, running is merely a faster walk right? Maybe the term 'running' is intimidating to people, and 'jogging' should be instead used to help motivate folks to pick up their walking pace. I don't know. Seems to me that many people just assume they are not runners because they have never in fact ran, so I give them credit by this account they are correct. They are not runners. But when someone says "I wish I was a runner" this leads me to believe they have already written off the possibility that they could one day try running (maybe ::gasp:: even LIKE it) and run with some consistency.
There are SO many great opportunities for folks healthy enough to walk to learn how to jog/run. There are apps. There are programs. There are books. There are coaches/trainers. There are so many ways to learn how to become a runner, it seems illogical to me that you wouldn't try jogging or running if you were motivated to do so. Just this morning there is an article in the Washington Post about this very topic: Couch-to-5k article (Washington Post).
As I have stated, this article mentions that if you "are otherwise healthy", you can complete a 5k in three months time with no previous experience with running. This may seem daunting if you "are not a runner" as some say, but the premise of this and similar programs is that you continue your walking routine but gradually add in intervals of jogging (eventually running) with your walking until you can jog longer than you walk. This type or program isn't training you to run hurdles or Steeplechase, it's merely providing a guide for you to empower you to TRY running!
Again I will emphasize: if you can walk, you can jog. I know many, many people that write off the possibility of running because they have "bad (insert joint here)", like bad knees or a bad back. Well, if you can walk without pain, how is it possible that your knees are "bad"? And if you have a bad back, I would imagine that is equal parts muscular weakness and poor physical fitness (sorry, but it's probably true). If you are overweight or obese, chances are your joints hurt because you are carrying more bodyweight than your joints/ligaments/skeletal frame are genetically intended to support. My husband, the physical therapist, sees this on the regular. In fact, if more people realized their back pain was more closely due to poor overall health and much less a true orthopedic condition, he would be pretty bored at work.
The truth is folks, if you are able to walk without pain, you CAN become a runner and I would argue you SHOULD become one. Running is efficient, weight-bearing (good for your bones!!), and such a blessing in more ways than you could ever imagine. The running community is fun, supportive, adventurous, understanding (running IS the cheapest therapy there is, after all), and totally worth the effort of trying to learn to run. If you are reading this and are one of those people who watches other people run in envy or you're scared to take a first step alone, please email me or let me know. I've seen the joy that running brings to "newbies" and it is SO exciting for me to see others experience this love for the first time that will, literally, change your life. So if you suffer from "I'm-not-a-runner-itis", I'm here to help you. There are apps to help you. Other coaches. Couch-to-5k programs. Books. Websites. Reach out to something or someone and I PROMISE you won't regret it. This is one syndrome you can easily kick to the curb, you just have to have the motivation to try it. You can and will become a runner, you just don't know your full potential until you try.