Coach Mike Mead

Runner's Resolutions - January 2004

Another new year is upon us and traditionally many folks make resolutions they hope to keep.  In the last 10-20 years, the new year is ushered in with a slew of ads and promos for weight-loss programs and diets.  These programs tout how much weight you’ll lose by using their products or following their plan.  However, so many folks fail at keeping the pounds off.

Most folks fail a weight-loss plan because they do not adhere to “following a moderate exercise plan” that is usually tagged at the end of a particular weight-loss program’s description.  Any weight-loss plan from the grapefruit to the bread-and-water diet will result in short-term success.  But once you drop that first 10 pounds, how are you going to continue to lose the weight once you tire of grapefruit in about a week?

The simple answer is exercise!  The best forms of exercise are either walking or running.  I prefer running since you can cover more ground and burn more calories in about a third of the time that it takes to walk.  I’ve always joked that I ought to write a book about my weight-loss plan: “run eight miles a day and eat whatever you want!”  However, one-page books are not commercially successful! 

Since these columns are written with the runner in mind, I thought it best that you runners out there should share this month’s column with your “couch potato” friends.  Our country has become one of the fattest, per capita, on the planet and healthcare costs are skyrocketing.  I’m not a medical expert, but I truly believe that a majoring of our country’s health woes these days are directly related to poor diet and lack of regular exercise.

This worsening health crisis should be of national concern.  Heck, it should be a concern for national security!  If obesity gets any worse, we’ll be too fat to get out of our recliners to defend ourselves. Yet, there isn’t a big push to get people off their big butts and shed those extra pounds that they put on over the years of idle existing.  The pharmaceutical companies will continue to develop and market more drugs to battle illnesses related to obesity.  Man, that’s not living!

We runners know how to live and we should share our success and happiness with our sedentary friends.  If you have not made a New Year’s resolution, perhaps this could be yours: “I, your name here, resolve to help a sedentary friend begin and maintain a running (or walking) program in the new year.”

Not only will you be exposing someone else to a form of exercise, you might just be saving he or she from an early grave. However if you take on this resolution, consider this piece of advice.  Please do not be a “know-it-all” toward your friend or that individual will not be one for very long.

You’re main job is to get them going and keep them going.  Hopefully, the continued loss of weight will be a big motivator!  But don’t nag them.  That’s the tough part.  Don’t expect them to want to train with you for a marathon in six months, either.  Remember, running isn’t for everyone, but everyone (except bed-ridden or wheelchair-bound folks) can walk.

Start out walking with them 3 or 4 times per week for about 20 minutes.  Recall how you got started with running and try to make the experience as enjoyable as possible for your comrade.  You’ll know you succeeded when they’ve continued this routine a year from now and experienced continued weight-loss.  An ultimate “runner’s high!”