Just in time for New Year resolutions, here’s the first of our monthly columns on running in Singapore. We’ll share our favourite routes and talk about getting started, shoes, gadgets, nutrition, hashing, children’s running and much more. Verne Maree kicks off with the question that baffles the unconverted.
Thirteen years ago, my first exploratory jog from our Orchard serviced apartment down to the river and the quays was a shock to the system. Fresh from a year in chilly London and flushed with the modest success of my first half-marathon, I’d been running and even racing regularly over 10K and 15K for more than 12 years. I thought I’d never cope in this exhausting fug – it was like running through treacle.
I did acclimatise over time, though. For me there was no choice: I find the tedium of a gym treadmill a kind of purgatory. Once a runner, always a runner – for as long as the knees hold out, that is.
8 Reasons to Run
#1 No skills are required.
Can’t hit a ball? Can’t throw a ball? Can’t cast a fishing line? No, nor can I. But if you can put one foot in front of the other, you can run.
#2 Equipment is minimal.
Shoes, socks, shorts, vest, running bra. That’s it.
#3 I can do it anywhere.
No need to drive to a field, a track, a court or a gym. Just lace up your shoes and head out of the door.
#4 It’s time-effective.
It quickly elevates your heart rate and keeps it up. As little as half an hour, three times a week, is enough cardiovascular exercise to keep your heart and lungs healthy.
#5 I can do it alone.
Unlike tennis or squash, you don’t need a running partner. Unlike netball or football, you don’t need a team. Unlike spinning, Pilates, hot yoga or martial arts, you don’t need a venue or a class. And if your day’s too jam-packed, get up an hour earlier and do it in the dark.
#6 It’s a great way to explore new places.
You can also do this by walking – but you cover twice as much ground in the same time if you jog.
#7 It keeps me sane.
Running burns up nervous energy, releases calming endorphins and keeps me grounded. And – unlike my friends who have taken up white-collar boxing – I don’t have to hit anyone in the face unless I really want to.
#8 It’s safe.
After running in South Africa with the constant fear of being attacked, the security of Singapore – even after dark – is blissful. (But I might give Sungei Boloh Wetland Reserve a miss, at least until they shoo away the three-metre croc found sprawled across the path last month.)
RUNS COMING UP
February 9: MediaCorp Hong Bao Run 7am, 8km, venue TBA
February 15: Marina Run 4.30pm, 5km/10km/21km, Gardens by the Bay
February 16: Terry Fox Run 8am, 5km/10km, Big Splash at East Coast Park
February 16: Safari Zoo Run 7am, 2.8km/6km/12km, Singapore Zoo
February 16: New Moon Khcycle MetaSprint Series 2014: Aquathlon venue TBC, metasport.com
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