I'll be the first to admit it: I'm not exactly the "sporty type." I'm 37 years old and I think I've only jogged outdoors twice in my entire life. It's not that I'm lazy. I just don't like running. Southeast Asia is hot, the roads are congested, and treadmills are boring.
I figured I was a lost cause. But then I was offered a training session with the coaches at Nike+ Run Club Bangkok. The club, like the app, promises to get even the least athletic person into running shape after enough regular sessions. The club even has coaches to assess your runs and pacers who help guide you through each session.
Could they teach me how to actually run? Most definitely. Could they teach me to love running? We'll see.
I had coach Sathik "Peng" Thanathakand look at my form. Turns out I had no idea what I was doing. Here's how to avoid my mistakes:
VICE: What are the most-common mistakes people make when running?
Peng: People start to run too fast. They start with a run instead of a jog. And then they feel super tired and have a bad experience. It's torture.
But when you start slow, you feel relaxed and you feel motivated to do more.
What should someone do if they don't have a lot of time to receive training?
For the first time runner, it's best to start out slow. Aim for distance. You want to reach that distance, then focus on getting faster, or running longer.
What's the worst mistake beginners make?
The worst case scenario is always an accident. It happens if you run too fast and you don't really know how to control yourself. Accidents can happen really easily, especially in the park where people run really slowly and the path isn't very smooth.
So, personally, I hate to run. I'm a bit lazy I guess and I just get bored so easily. How can I convince myself to get out there and run?
If you get bored easily or you're too lazy, try a short program like this. It's very short and you get to meet new friends and new people. So that makes it an experience for non-runners to make their own challenges, to run more. The program is not the same thing all the time.
Did it work?
We started with a warm up. I thought it would just be some stretches or something. Turns out it's actually running.
The coaches tried to correct my terrible form. We started with some exercises meant to loosen me up. Then it was high knees. I held my hands palms down and struck my palms with my knees.
Then it was the sprints. Coach Peng had me sprinting back and forth along a straight stretch of Lumpini Park. It was the early evening, but it was still super hot. I was quickly soaking my black t-shirt in sweat.
Some quick takeaways: Start slow, pace yourself, and bring the lead leg's knee parallel with your waist when you stride forward.
The next day I went out on my own and tried to see if I could put this new knowledge into action. I was eager to try again. The most-important part of getting healthy is establishing a routine. Running is as much a lifestyle as it is a sport.
I only lasted about ten minutes before I had to slow down, but like Coach Peng said, it's not about speed, it's about the distance.