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I started to run because I felt desperately unfit. But the biggest pay-off for me was – and still is – the deep relaxation that I achieve by taking exercise. It tires me out but I find that it does calm me down. When I started running seven years ago, I could manage only 400 meters before I had to stop. Breathless and aching, I walked the next quarter of a mile, alternating these two activities for a couple of kilometers.
When I started to jog I never dreamt of running in a marathon, but a few years later I realized that if I trained for it, the London Marathon, one of the biggest British sporting events, would be within my reach. My story shows that an unfit 39-year-old, as I was when I started running, who had taken no serious exercise for twenty years, can do the marathon – and that this is a sport in which women can beat men. But is it crazy to do it? Does it make sense to run in the expectation of becoming healthier?
My advice is: if you are under forty, healthy and feel well, you can begin as I did by jogging gently until you are out of breath, then walking, and alternating the two for about three kilometers. Build up the jogging in stages until you can do the whole distance comfortably.
(Headway Intermediate – Student’s Book. Oxford University Press.