So this might come as a surprise to some of you, but I used to hate running.
Like, hate it. Really, really, really hate it. To a point where I never thought I could force myself to be a “runner.”
I remember back in school when they made us run the dreaded mile, I wanted to walk but ended up being forced to run instead. I actually didn’t get serious about running until way after I was done with school and I needed a cheap way to get fit.
When I first started running voluntarily, I still hated it with every fiber of my being. However, after a little while of sticking with it, my attitude started to change, and when that did, so did my experience.
I started to realize that I might actually like running.
And if you had told that to 14 year old me, I would have told you that you were completely insane.
The truth is, if you can change your attitude about running, you can turn it from a chore into something you actually look forward to doing. Here are 8 was to do it:
1. Let yourself start slow
Look, you’re not going to go out and run a flawless mile the first time you try. That’s just not going to realistically happen.
And that’s ok ! If you’re not used to running, it’s 100% completely normal to start off feeling slow, sluggish and out of breath. I promise – no one knows how far you can run and no one is judging you.
When you first start out, if you need to take breaks to walk during your run, go ahead and do it! It takes time to build up your endurance, so don’t expect it to be perfect when you first start out. Take your time. Listen to your body. Let yourself be a beginner. If you try to do too much too fast, you’ll end up getting frustrated and giving up.
2. Don’t act like you’re racing
When you’re first getting started running, speed and pace should be the last thing on your mind.
You’re not racing against anyone, you’re not trying to set personal records, you’re just trying to get used to running.
With that in mind, don’t worry so much about how fast you’re actually running, and instead just try to enjoy the physical activity. Run at a pace that doesn’t leave you gasping for breath in a block or two, and if it feels slow, that’s fine! The trick is to slowly build up your endurance.
3. Make your goals attainable
If you decide to pick up running and your goal is to finish a marathon, you’re probably going to get discouraged pretty quickly.
Even if your goal is to “run one mile”, if you have to stop for a break in the middle you’re going to feel like you failed. It’s much better to pick goals that are short, attainable, and easy to accomplish at first, so that you can move on to the next one.
Try this: decide your goal is to run to the end of the block. When you get there, make your goal the end of the next block. Keep chaining those together and all of a sudden your bigger goals will seem much more attainable.
4. Relish the solitude
Running can be a group activity, but most of the time it’s just you and your thoughts, pounding the pavement.
So it’s important to learn to enjoy being alone and the solitude that comes with running. No one’s asking you for anything(no kids are bugging you, no assignments at work are being demanded, it’s just you, the pavement, and your heartbeat.)
When you start looking forward to the solitude that comes with running, you’ve taken a huge step towards enjoying it. Plus, being alone can be a cathartic experience. It can help relieve stress and give you time to reflect.
5. Get a workout partner
Even though it’s nice being alone, chances are you’re going to have days where you feel lazy, unmotivated, exhausted or just aren’t in the mood for running.
On days like this, it’s great to have a partner who helps push you to be the best you can be and get out there, even if you’re not totally feeling like it. Plus, you can do the same for them on the days that they’re slipping and don’t feel motivated.
Plus, when you’re running with someone else, talking to them can help pass the time way more quickly, so you cover far more distance than you thought (and with much less conscious effort).
6. Find a higher cause
I know, you want to get fit, you want to feel good about yourself and you want to accomplish your fitness goals. Those are great motivators. But sometimes, I recognize that they might not be enough.
That’s why a great way to get yourself motivated is to sign up to run for a charity that you want to support. It’s a great way to add another reason to the list of “reasons to run” that will get your butt motivated and in gear even on a day where all it wants to do is sit on the couch.
7. Pop in the earbuds
Music is a great way to zone out and get “in the zone” while you’re running. If you’re listening to a song you like, before you know it you’ve run for 5 minutes without even realizing it.
Listening to a song you like can also motivate you in a special kind of way, where you get lost in the rhythm of the song or the lyrics and can run faster than you thought you could.
Plus, if you’re listening to particularly upbeat music (around 120-140 beats per minute), it can push you to run harder than you were running before, with less effort.
8. Mark your progress
One of the biggest reasons people give up on running is because they don’t think they’re making progress on their goals – even when they are!
Sure, you might be tempted to mark how far you can run, and if you don’t see that increasing at the rate you want you could get discouraged. But what you might be missing is your pace , or how quickly you’re covering ground.
You can get a variety of run tracking apps for your smartphone. A couple of the better ones are MapMyRun and Runkeeper.
Track your progress! That way, you’ll see exactly how far you’ve come, and it’ll be extra motivation to get out there and run again tomorrow.
The Best Ways To Learn To Love Running
- Let yourself start slow
- Don’t act like you’re racing
- Make your goals attainable
- Relish the solitude
- Get a workout partner
- Find a higher cause
- Pop in the earbuds
- Mark your progress
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