I am certainly no stranger to running. I have been participating in this sport, pastime or
exercise (whatever you wish to call it) for over 34 years! I am 56 years old now and many people say I look at least 10-20 years younger than my age. I know for sure that I feel better and healthier now than when I was thirty!
I attribute much of my excellent health to running! But not just regular running – running slow! That’s right, let me admit right here that I am and always have been a “back of the pack runner.” And I am proud of it!
Perhaps you are a runner who is frustrated because you feel that you are not fast enough. Or maybe you are contemplating getting into running but think that you won’t be able to keep up with everyone else, or you won’t get the health benefits as the speed demons. Please take a look at the reasons below where explain why I honestly believe that we, the snails, are actually better and healthier than those that are competitive “front runners.”
- When you run slower, you are far less likely to get injured. I cannot even count the number of people I have met over the years that were really great runners but they had to quit due to injuries. Shin splints, stress fractures, back trouble, knee problems… you name it. I on the other hand keep going and going, year after year injury free.
- When you run slower, you are less likely to get burnt out. Again, I cannot even begin to tell you all of the people I know that were so serious about high mileage training programs, doing too much too soon, then burning out and quitting. I listen to my body and I do what it tells me to do. I never quit.
- When you run slower, you can go longer and actually enjoy it. It’s not unusual for me to go out for a nice relaxing slow run of more than an hour at a time! It’s because I am going slow and enjoying myself. Believe it or not, I notice my beautiful surroundings, which oftentimes makes my run meditative!
- When you run slower, you burn just as much fat as if you were running fast (maybe even more). Running slow is a great way to lose weight. I weigh the same now as I did when I was in college.
- Running slow takes all of the pressure off of the activity. The idea is that you will go out and enjoy yourself.
I still remember the very first marathon that I entered way back in 1979. On the memo portion of the check, I wrote the letters “LSD” in black ink. The people who processed my check may have thought that I was some strung out stoner hippie trying to run a marathon. In actuality, I knew the letters stood for “Long Slow Distance!” And that has been my motto ever since.
Do yourself a favor and become a slow runner. It doesn’t matter what your age is or what kind of condition you are in right now. You can do it. Very few of us have the ability to come in first place in races. But most of us can get out there and run slow. Hope to see you on the road real soon!
Dr. David Madow is a well known health and lifestyle expert. He is the author of the book “Impress The World With Your Body in Seven Days.” David’s favorite outdoor activities are backpacking in Grand Canyon, skiing in Colorado and of course running.