I’m a runner at heart. Been running since I was 15, and I’m hooked for life. Running somehow fills me with energy and relaxes me at the same time. I love that I can take it anywhere I travel, and its a full body workout.
I know lots of people who say running isn’t for them. They’ve tried it and hate it.
I get it. I understand.
But do you know why lots of people hate running? Because they are doing it all wrong for them. When people explain to me why they hate running, I can almost always pinpoint the reason. Below are five easy things you can do that will make running more enjoyable and (gasp!) you may even learn to love it.
Number one tip folks. I know so many people who try to run way faster than could possibly be enjoyable. However fast you think you should be running, take it a few minutes slower. I run under 8 minute miles for my 5Ks, but I enjoy training at a 10 or even 11 minute mile. You should be able to breathe well enough that you could carry on a conversation with someone next to you.
LITTLE BY LITTLE
You don’t have to run 6 miles a day, every day, to consider yourself a runner. Running just two miles for 3 or 4 days a week provides great cardiovascular benefits, and can build up a good base endurance if done consistently week after week. If you want to increase your mileage, do it little by little. If you set expectations too high, you are destined to fail.
SET (ATTAINABLE) GOALS
If you’re not currently a runner, don’t sign up for a marathon next week. Instead, start by signing up for a local 5K or set a mileage goal for a given month. Your goal could be to run 24 miles next month. Each week, make it your goal to stay on track running 6 miles a week, 2 miles, 3x week. If you chart your progress and hit your goal, it boosts confidence and helps you reach that next level without stressing out. Hitting goals feels great! (For extra motivation, reward yourself if you hit your goal!)
FIND A RUNNING BUDDY
Its easier to stay on track if you have a running buddy. Knowing someone else is running with you helps hold you accountable, and makes you less likely to come up with excuses. I’ll be honest, its easy to roll over and hit snooze, but you are less likely to it if your friend is waiting for you. Make a plan and stick with it. Plus, having someone to run with makes the time go by so much faster! If you don’t have a buddy, check out local running clubs or community boards to find out. (Track Shack in Orlando offers some great programs!)
CREATE A PLAYLIST
Music can be a great motivator, so find a few of your favorite songs, make a playlist, and let the music carry you. There’s no better feeling than when my legs are dragging and a great tune comes on. (The theme to Rocky gets me every freakin time.) Knowing that you just have to make it through just a few songs can make time go by so much faster, and can help keep you on pace. (For safety sake, I always listen to my music on speaker instead of with ear buds so I can hear what is going on around me and carry a phone so I can call for help in the event of an emergency.)
Now go give it a try. Practice these tips for 6 weeks before throwing in the towel. It may have its tough moments, but if you are consistent and train little by little, slowly but surely it won’t seem so bad, and you will eventually grow to like it! Always talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program. If running is too strenuous for your body, walking is amazing for your body too. Happy trails!
Looking for some more inspiration and reasons why you should run? Check out my blog post Why You Should Give Running a Second Chance.