Competitive Running: For more than just the Professionals and Olympiads

by Edward Pankow 9. July 2012 10:32

Running is good for your health and being healthy is good for those you love, including yourself.  Running is a sport in which virtually anyone can easily participate.  You do not need special equipment - just a good pair of running shoes.  You do not need teammates – this can be done solo.  You do not need a track, a gym or a treadmill – the sidewalk will work just fine.  You do not need to develop hand eye coordination – as a human – you are born to run.  You ran as a child playing with your friends.  You can do this.

                I first started any real running while I was in the US Army.  We ran 2 miles a day five days a week.  The pace was slow and it was easy for me.  When I left the Army, I did not think about running for years – nearly a decade actually. 

Running kicked off for me while I was in Grad school.  My teacher rescheduled a class because he was going to be out of town.  I asked why he was going out of town and he said he was going to run the Disney Marathon.  I just had to ask how he got involved in running marathons.  He said – “By asking that very question,” and that was the same for me.

I looked for information on running a marathon on the internet and found a 16-week training schedule.  I followed it very closely and trained moderately hard for it.  I gave the race my all and finished well ahead of the average runner.  Finishing a full 26.2-mile marathon brought a feeling of elation and euphoria.  I was never very athletic in other sports but I just accomplished something very few people will ever accomplish.  I was hooked.

I found a great website for runners from the very beginning level to very good runners at Hillrunner.com.  I could and still can get any questions I have about running, training and races from the folks (I am now one of them) on this website.  I started to run in races from the 5K to the half marathon and started to become very competitive in more ways than one.

As I started to develop my speed and racing skills, I was at first competing with myself, always trying to run a faster time in each of the races I would enter.  However, over the years I started to become more focused on beating other people and finishing higher and higher in the race rankings in both my age group categories as well as the overall race. 

                I am now at a point (in my early forties) that I can outrace and beat people less than half my age (16-20) and are on the high school and college cross-country teams.  This drives me even more.  This competitive drive pushes me to run daily and that has tremendous health benefits.

                I know that with every morning run I am strengthening my heart, improving my blood flow, improving my body’s ability to take in and use oxygen and burning loads of calories.  It took me several years to build up to the running that I do now, which is an average of seven miles a day with long runs on Saturdays of 12-15 miles.  You too can build up to this level of running and reap some great health benefits that will both improve and extend your life. 

The journey of running a marathon, all 26.2 miles, starts with a single step.

Tags:

Community Involvement | Education

Edward Pankow Edward Pankow
Human Resource Assistant, Parallel Employment Group

Ed has been with Parallel for over five years and strives on being there for all of Parallel’s employees. He would love to start a Wellness Plan and work with employees on becoming healthier, happier and more productive. He loves to run, play his trumpet and spend time with his family.

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Ed,

  Great stuff!!! I substitute teach thru Parallel. I bike and run to stay fit as a soccer referee. There is NO doubt that a fit employee is MORE productive, and you should see some of the unfit teachers at schools I've subbed at. Its disgusting!!!

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