Running is a commitment. Beyond the sense of the word, it’s not just about doing the 2.4km you promised yourself to this morning. It is also about shifting running up your priority list. And consequently, letting other things slide to the back. These 5 things are top on our list we’re happy to let go of.

#1 Netflix

When you realise that you’ve to wake up at 5am for your mid-week run tomorrow, late night drama chasing would slowly take the sidelines. You might wake up, but the lethargy might not let you go the full distance. Even if you do finish, you won’t finish as strongly as you would have been able to. Or you might not even wake up. Once your race training starts to get serious, you won’t want a slip up on training like this!

#2 Crash diets

It is common for athletes to get tempted by crash diets that promise immediate results! “Get lighter, leaner, faster” can be such attractive mantras. The problem with those crash diets is that they are often unsustainable and not nutritious enough for an endurance runner. Popular diets like the Atkins diet and Zone diet tend to focus on reducing carbohydrates. However, carbs happen to be the most efficient and most used fuel source. As you move ahead to week 4-6 of your training, you’d learn to take better care of your body – such as eating a small slice of wholegrain bread before a run and then going for a hearty meal with quinoa (carbs) and eggs (protein) after.

#3 Alcohol

Photo Credit: Danielle E. Johnson
Photo Credit: Danielle E. Johnson

It dehydrates you and makes you gain weight – two things you don’t want. With its diuretic property, the fluid loss can leave you dehydrated, leading to poorer performance. This is especially so in humid conditions (like Singapore!). Calorie wise, alcohol contains 7 kcal per g. Compare this with 9 kcal/g for fat and 4 kcal/g for carbohydrates. This 7 kcal is not even nutrient dense. ACSM has already said it: orange juice supplies 4X the potassium and almost 3X the carbohydrates, and it would take 11 beers to obtain the recommended daily allowance of B-vitamin. As you work towards your performance weight, alcohol is going to be the first drink you quit.

#4 Certain foods


Honestly, losing a couple of kgs would tremendously improve your running capacity. In fact, for every extra 4.5kg a runner would need to muster 6.5% more energy. You’re probably not going to all of a sudden clean up your diet and start packing lean protein to work everyday. But you’d start to steer clear of greasy food and carbonated drinks that only leave you thirstier. It could be the byproduct of being more active. You feel generally stronger and want to be healthier. Or it could be the discomfort of having those food jostling around your stomach. You’d learn over the course of your training that some food sit well during runs (AND give you energy); while some don’t.

#5 Ego

spectators and runners

Many runners finish their 21km, 42.125km or ultramarathons and still come back for more. Running can be a very humbling experience. You learn a lot about yourself and as you talk to fellow runners, you discover that there is so much knowledge to be learnt. You might give up your ego after your first group run session, or it might take several marathons. Whatever it is, you’d find that running is as much a continuous learning journey as it is a physical one.

When you feel like you are giving up one, two or all of the above, give us a shout out and tell us how it feels. Chances are, you’d be feeling pretty good about how far you’ve come!



2 COMMENTS

  1. After i been diagnosed with asthma, and i stopped every activity knowing that i’d lose my breath if i continue. just something i created in my head.. Eventually i gained a lot of weight and i realized i need to lose it. i started running.

    I am just sharing my experience, it is very painful to start with. short of breath, pain in the back, knee and legs. and i stopped until my friend invited me to join the run with her. and i found running is peaceful. and day by day, i have this thought, i am training my lung with running. i got better but i am still slow. every time, i try to increase my intensity/try to get faster, that is when my body start aching. feel like an old car. you know, when the car is old and you try to push it a bit, those grey smoke come out from the exhaust. i feel old and i starting to lose it as i start skipping my running schedule. from every day to 3 times a week. which is 5km every run.

    Please share with me your experience because i am starting to feel like i am no good in this and useless. sometimes, i try to imagine if CR is chasing me from behind. you know just to give the spirit boost but hey, who am i kidding. my self.

    • Hi Hikari.

      This reply is not too late, I hope.

      The key question you should ask yourself is, why are you trying to run faster? If there is no solid reason for you to amp up the speed, then I would suggest that you skip trying to increase speed, and try increasing mileage instead. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that you are pushing too much, so respect your body and do what works for you at that moment. If slow jogs work for you, then maintain the slow jogs till your body adapts to the exercise and becomes ready for the next level.

      A runner’s speed typically improves with increasing mileage. Even then, mileage should not increase more than 10% of the previous week’s mileage, and there should be a cutback week every 3-4 weeks.

      Enjoy your runs. Try not to compare and have expectations about your performance, as this will kill your joy and enthusiasm when you run.

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