Thursday, January 8, 2015

Finding Fitness Results - Running

There's something so basic and simple about running - it was probably the first exercise regime ever. One foot in front of another, again and again, to the increased heartbeat and release of endorphins. 

Of course, soccer players run a lot on the field during a game. Many supplement their workouts in the off-season with running. So that's why I've chosen to focus on this activity in my continuing Finding Fitness series.

Landon Donovan, for example, credited cross-country running with a lot of his development and endurance in the game. 

So running and soccer have a strong connection, making it an ideal post-retirement fitness regime in many ways. It's simpler than capoeira, for sure. 

Running on the treadmill isn't a bad deal while watching a soccer game, but really experiencing the outdoors is a great part of running as well. So I headed out to a popular local running spot - the Silverlake Reservoir

The running track is 2.2 miles around and the lake is pretty,
though blocked with a chainlink fence topped with barbed wire. Normally, that would be menacing, but I've been marathon-watching The Walking Dead, so it just looks like good anti-zombie protection to me. 

Inevitably, there's at least one person on the track or walking a dog who I'm sure I've seen on television. I'm not great at spotting celebrities, but one give-away is how they're often on the phone and avoiding eye contact. But the reservoir trail is very egalitarian, with nannies pushing strollers, every size and ethnicity represented, along with athletic endeavor. Some race at top speak, some do the short-stepped boxer jog, some run with strange tech accouterments, while others run in just shorts to tan/run, even in the winter. 

I usually do two laps, but the lake track is waiting for me to do more. I may someday, but honestly, I'm not a terribly dedicated runner. I'm in awe of Luis and his marathons. 

Here are my running ratings. 

Fitness: 8/10 Running is an intense workout if you keep up any decent pace, plus there are hilly sections. 

Fun: 6/10 It's fun if you have a good jam playlist, no blisters and nice weather. But there aren't really new skills to learn. Races can be a way to inject competitive element that makes it more exciting. 

Sociability: 5/10 The people-watching can be enjoyable, but if you can maintain any decent conversation while on a run, you're slacking on the cardio element. 

Convenience: 8/10 It helps to live near a good route. LD lives near the Strand, so a nice beachside run is very easy.  

Cost: 10/10 Free, basically. Shoes aren't that expensive, either. 

Yes, running is in general an excellent way for retired players to stay in shape, though a bit boring. One problem is that it can be tough on the joints, especially if one is already injury-plagued. 

I'll probably keep it up, somewhat. Maybe I'll try to knock out a half-marathon this year. That's half as intimidating as a full marathon. 

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