“Preconceived ideas can sometimes become barriers.” ~ Rocky Bleier
This post is a piece about jogging fitness. But first I want to tell you a brief inspirational story about a comeback from a pro football player who was told he would never play football again.
Pittsburgh Steelers fans will certainly know who Rocky Blier is, heck, any football fan might recognize who he is if you’re old enough. Rocky was a halfback for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1968 and then again from 1971-1980. The time gap in his football career was due to him being drafted into the Vietnam war.
Why do I know who Rocky is? Because I’m from Pittsburgh and I idolized him and his story growing up!
During the war, his unit was attacked and he was injured in several places. The most debilitating was when a grenade took part of his right foot. The Doctors told him he’d never play football again. Jump forward to the Steelers winning Superbowls, Rocky played in 4 of them. He retired in 1980 with 3,865 rushing yards, 136 receptions for 1,294 yards, and 25 touchdowns. At the time of his retirement, he was the Steelers’ fourth all-time leading rusher.
Never play football again huh?
Rocky didn’t let the preconceived notion of losing part of his foot stop him from returning to his dream of playing football. Was it easy? No of course not, but he did it. If you’re interested in reading more about how he over came his injuries and helped to win 4 Superbowls read his book, Fighting Back: The Rocky Blier Story.
And you’re not going to let any preconceived notions stop you from jogging or running. Let’s look at some information about this sport.
When I use the word jogging for the purpose of this post I mean to include running in it’s definition as well. So anything written here would be applicable to running too. I just don’t want to have to keep using the term jogging and running benefits, etc., so I’m shortening it.
Jogging health benefits you may be aware of and could guess include: weight loss, helps to control blood pressure, building muscle mass and toning muscles.
How about some less thought of benefits? Jogging and mental health.
How’s the job going? How’s the family? Does your family depend on you working to support them, or are you single supporting yourself? How are the kids? How’s the boyfriend or girlfriend? How’s school going for the kids? All these stresses, when do you have “me time?”
Yeah jogging, in addition to the physical benefits, will help give you the time to deal with a bigger muscle your brain. Spending time by yourself jogging whether on the treadmill or outdoors gives you time for your brain to turn off and reboot. Jogging is your brain’s down time and it’s revitalizing.
Life stresses don’t give you time to think deeply about anything. Your mind is constantly moving from one subject to another. Time to yourself when jogging benefits you by removing that constant thought jumping and promotes deep thinking leading to increased creativity and productivity.
Everyone around you will benefit from your “me” time especially you!
Jogging Versus Running and Walking
Jogging versus running. Obviously the biggest difference is the pace. The average jogging pace is usually defined as going at a pace of less than 6 mph, while the average running is defined as going faster than 6 mph.
Running and jogging both give you the benefit of working your muscles, aerobic exercise and calorie burning. As you would assume, running is more intense so your body will benefit more from running.
How about jogging versus walking? A 30 minute jogging benefit at 6 mph is the same as a 60 minute walk at 4.6 mph. It burns the same amount of calories.
Jogging versus running versus walking. The choice is yours. I prefer jogging as opposed to running or walking. It’s a personal preference and depends on how much time you have to give yourself, how fast you want to burn calories and how much you want to work out your muscles. I find jogging fits my schedule and performance goals perfectly.
Proper form when jogging will absolutely help prevent injuries. I know this firsthand. When I started jogging, I was not landing properly on my foot. I was heel striking, except I didn’t know it. All I knew when I was done jogging 3 miles was my knees would ache.
I mentioned my knee pain to someone I know who consistently runs in the Pittsburgh marathon – she knows her stuff. She’s the one who told me about heel striking and how the foot should properly land. And she was right. It was the heel strike causing my knees to ache. As soon as I was able correct my form, the aching knees stopped. I struggle with heel striking to this day, even though it’s been 5 years since I started jogging. When I get tired, my feet get lazy and I heel strike more! I found that running shoes made to help straighten my foot helps keep me from coming down on my heel.
Heel striking is landing on the back part of your foot (heel) and rolling your foot forward when you step and push off again. The proper way to land on the foot is debatable and will depend on your gait. Mid foot landing and rolling through the toes for push off is the traditional landing. However, there is also the landing on the ball of the foot, but in this scenario the calves work harder. There is no right or wrong here. Whatever form of landing is best for you will depend on how you feel during and after jogging.
However, your foot lands and pushes off for propulsion keep in mind you don’t want to lunge forward. Proper jogging form positions the feet directly under your body while you’re in your stride. I prefer landing on the ball of my feet. It feels natural during my jog and no knee pain for me afterwards.
Jogging Workout Plan
Just starting to jog? How do you go from walking to jogging without losing motivation? Incrementally. I started walking before I found myself wanting to jog. Once my feet were comfortable walking, I found myself wanting to break into a jog and go a little faster.
When I first started jogging I had to walk, jog, walk, jog to keep myself from giving up. Eventually I found myself not having to walk as much and then jogging all the time. This is a very good and recommended way to establish a jogging workout plan for a beginner. The goal is to complete this workout three times per week.
When you’re comfortable and able to jog at your pace, start looking at what you want your jogging workout plan to be. Do you want to lose weigh, do you prefer more cardio benefit? These questions will help you set and achieve your goals. But once you determine your goals – commit.
For me, motivation comes when I see progress. When walking led to me wanting to jog, I was motivated. When jogging more than I walked, I was motivated. When I jogged and didn’t need to walk, I was motivated. Check off each of your steps and you’ll see your progress motivate you too!
Don’t Stop Believing
There’s no question that exercise helps us in a multitude of ways. If you are just a walker and want to jog, or a jogger wanting to start running. Do it, keep track of your progress and give yourself credit when you deserve it. As soon as you feel or see the benefits of jogging you’ll be inspired to continue.
Don’t believe or listen to any of the preconceived notions about jogging. You’ll only know if jogging works for you if you try a workout plan and stick to it. Just like Rocky Blier didn’t believe the preconceived notion that he wouldn’t play football professionally again. He did. He believed he could, it wasn’t easy, but he did it. And so can you!
Leave me a comment. Let me know what motivates you to continue jogging or running. I’d love to hear it!