How non-runners can start running

In high school, I couldn’t run the single mile our PE teachers made us do as part of New York’s annual statewide fitness test. When I was 21, I used a combination of the elliptical and the treadmill at my local New York Sports Club to work up to a slow jog for 30 minutes straight. At 25, I managed to run more than three consecutive miles -- and kept building gradually so that, at 32, I completed the New York City Marathon. Now, at 35, I’ve never been faster, shaving more than 15 minutes off my half marathon time in the past year with a combination of speed work and strength training.

Even while amassing a decade of experience, I never believed the medical and fitness experts who said that a runner is not born, but made. Now I do.

Experts suggest that people check with their primary care physician for any “contraindications” (asthma, joint injuries, etc.) before starting any exercise for the first time.

Experts suggest that people check with their primary care physician for any “contraindications” (asthma, joint injuries, etc.) before starting any exercise for the first time. (iStock)

The start of 2020 is as good a time as any to start running. Yes, this is the year to become one of those spandex-clad folks posting social media photos of sweaty grins, bibs and medals -- because you have no excuse. Here, experts share some of the most common reasons folks state for not wanting to pound the pavement and how to counter 'em.

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EXCUSE: I am not a natural athlete.

“Can you move, walk, breathe and sweat? Then you can work out,” says Corinne Fitzgerald, head coach at Mile High Run Club, which offers guided treadmill classes for all levels at its three Manhattan studios. “Start with a simple goal: ‘I want to move for 10 minutes.’ It could be a walk, a jog, a sprint or a combination of all them. Once you start to crush the 10-minute marker, you can extend to 15 to 20 minutes. You’ll find you’re more of an athlete than you think!”

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EXCUSE: I get out of breath after just a few minutes.

“This is a totally normal feeling when you first start training, no matter who you are,” says Roberto Mandje, an Olympian who is now senior manager of training and education at New York Road Runners. “Just make sure to pace yourself -- keep the effort nice and easy -- and if need be, work in some walk breaks. An example would be a 20-minute run, where you run for five minutes and walk for two minutes. You’d repeat this cycle three times and be done with the run before you knew it. As your fitness progresses, you can cut the walking portion down more and ultimately eliminate it entirely.”

The requisite caveat from Dr. Kirk Campbell, an orthopedic surgeon at NYU Langone Sports Health, is to check with your primary care physician for any “contraindications” (asthma, joint injuries, etc.) before starting any exercise for the first time.

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EXCUSE: I’m too old to start.

“I was never a sporty child and didn’t start running until my 30s,” says Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, a Miami-based travel writer, aka JetSetSarah, who recently shared a photo of herself jogging around a track on a cruise ship deck to her 17,100 followers. “I completed my first half marathon at 40 and ran the New York Marathon at 47. Trust me, if you’re still breathing, it’s never too late to start!”

EXCUSE: I don’t have time.

Fitzgerald puts runs in her calendar like they’re unskippable meetings or appointments. Start small, says Mandje: “Even 15 minutes of running is better than no running.”

For more, continue reading the original article at the New York Post.