Why running is horrible and what’s so great about that
Hello people! Let me introduce myself to you guys and gals! So, my name is Emmeke, a fellow ‘health food innovation management’ student of Anna and Marit. The fact that all three of us choose a food-related master kinda reveals our love for everything that has something to do with food, hence Anna and Marit’s AboutFood. However, we share one more passion which is… (drumrolls please) working out! Therefore, the AboutFood girls were kind enough to invite me to write something about that subject for their blog. So, my work-out of choice is without a doubt running. I’m currently doing some crazy self-assigned challenge in which I squeeze in a run every day. While I’m writing this, it is day 48 of the runstreak. I love to race as well. While normal people’s fixed charges include rent, gas, water, electricity, groceries, and a phone plan, it’s fair to say mine includes registration cost for a running race as well. I often tell people ‘start running! Besides a pair of shoes, it’s free!’ Well, not if you’re addicted to racing like me as well, haha! My favorite race so far has to be the marathon of Amsterdam in 2019, because, well, it was my first marathon. At the end of that race, my face wasn’t just cracked because of all the salt I’d sweated out but because of tears of happiness as well. Now that you know something about me and my running, you’re probably thinking ‘that chick must looove to run!’ Actually… Running is pretty horrible. ‘Whaaat?’ Okay, let me tell you what’s so horrible about running and why I LOVE that.
- You’re always exposed to weather conditions
Living in The Netherlands, you find yourself often exposed to some pretty nasty weather. Moreover, we Dutchies like to complain about that. A lot. During these last few weeks, we’ve had the pleasure to run alongside Ciara, Dennis, and Ellen, the iconic storm trio. Some random website tells me that it isn’t raining in The Netherlands for over 90% of the time, but during the remaining 10%, Dutchies tend to feel pretty sorry for themselves. Then, of course, after rain comes sunshine but dear oh dear if the temperature ever rises above 25°C we’re all sweating while whining about it being too hot to go for a run. Sure, you can go to the gym and complete your running workout under the safe and dry haven of your local gym roof. However, getting there STILL exposes you to wind/rain/sun so what’s the point about that. But… while the lips of a runner complain, their heart is still filled with love. So, what’s so great about this horrible weather we seem to be having all. the. time. you ask? While your face looks all grumpy from squinting your eyes trying to keep out droplets of either rain or sweat, inside you feel all heroic. ‘I’m doing it! I’m so badass right now! I’m beating the elements! I AM SPARTAAAAA!’ Not only do you feel pretty damn proud once you’ve completed your workout (and, of course, shared the obligatory sweaty ‘runfie’ on your socials), you also automatically build in more resistance in your training, getting even stronger, whoo!
- You have to get your nutrition right.
Along with the image of working out, often there’s sticking a prejudice about having to adjust your nutrition as well. First of all, you don’t have to do or change anything. Above all, please do what feels good to you. However, if you’re feeling like you could use some extra protein after a workout, or some more carbs the day before a big race you don’t have to think of this as a burden. Especially when you’re running a large distance (half marathon or more) it is often advised to do some carb-loading a few days before the race. Some people are afraid carb loading will make them feel bloated, gain weight or cause them to be nauseous when they’re about to start racing. If this is the case for you, please let me enlighten you and explain how to correctly load carbs and why this is the best thing ever. The most important thing is you don’t have to increase your total portion sizes, just increase the proportion of carbs on your plate by adding more pasta/rice/potatoes/etc. while decreasing your fats and proteins. Also, how great does a big plate of pasta sound? How could you resist that when you know it will make you run even faster? How often do you get to eat just pancakes with sugary toppings (sugar=carbs=run faster) without a feeling of guilt? Seize the opportunity that is called carb loading and indulge in those carbs! (I’m drooling at the thought of it alone…). And about those proteins, AboutFood has lots of delicious recipes with extra protein incorporated in them, for example, a high protein lunch with chickpeas and cottage cheese (http://aboutfood-ma.com/high-protein-lunch/) and they’ve even got protein cakes! (chocolate: http://aboutfood-ma.com/protein-chocolate-cake/ or orange: http://aboutfood-ma.com/protein-orange-cake/)
- You have to kick yourself out of the house
Running is often quite an individual sport. It’s no spinning class where you’ve got that commitment to be on time and social control because your friends will definitely text you why you didn’t show up. However, the fact that you’re able to take matters into your own hands is actually pretty awesome. First of all, you can take as much or little time as you want to. Like I said before, I’m currently running every day. Of course, there’s no time to run for an hour or more every day so I’ve learned to appreciate the shorter runs as well. Even if you’re out for just fifteen or twenty minutes, be aware that you just worked out even if it was only fifteen or twenty minutes! Take value in this as well, how great is it that you got some exercise in, instead of watching an extra episode of Friends? And how perfect is running in time-limited circumstances? The commute back and forth to the gym probably already takes you twenty minutes or more, and the average spinning/club power/boxing class takes an hour as well. Running is your answer! Also, you’re not limited to opening hours of a gym (or a swimming pool or whatever), if you fancy a run at six in the morning or 12 at night, you do you! Pavement has no opening hours, haha! Lastly, you’re able to keep your own pace. If you’re running by yourself, there’s no one keeping you from your ideal running pace. Both running to slow and to fast can be detrimental for your training so not having to adjust your pace to others will give you control over your progress.
I think (I’m sure) I can go on and on about running and probably write ten more blog posts about it. However, Anna asked me to write this A MONTH AGO and wanted to post it in March. I think this might be one of my most procrastinated projects ever (it’s what students do best, you know). Since we’re on the verge of March I’m sending this over to the AboutFood girls now. If you’d like to read more about my running experiences though, feel free to take a look at my Instagram account (@emmekeschalken https://www.instagram.com/emmekeschalken/?hl=en). Hope to see you there!