The sun is shining, the weather is perfect, and out come all the runners putting one foot in front of the other as they head down the road. They wave to you and smile as they pass you, and you wonder, what the heck makes those people want to do that?! And how is it that they’re so happy while they’re exercising?
While running isn’t for every person, it can be a wonderful activity and sport for many people––even those who claim to hate running. Yes, even those who never saw themselves as runners can love the sport.
“I love running because it makes me feel powerful. It gives me the strength I need to fight against my health conditions. For the time I am running, I actually feel strong and limitless.” - //runnerunleashed.com">Runnerunleashed.com
Maybe you’ve tried running and it didn’t work out for one reason or another. I say, don’t give up. Just because you tried running once and it didn’t click, doesn’t mean it’s not right for you. Maybe you were in a different place in your life physically or mentally, or maybe you didn’t know how to prepare for the run.
Start Slow and Ease Into It
A big part of learning to love running is making a plan for how to start, whether that is using a training plan (
//www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml">Couch to 5K is a great place to start), or just planning it out yourself. Plan out your distance, and create a fun running route for the first few runs. Go to a pretty park or run along a boardwalk. Schedule your run into your day; this will help keep you accountable. Give it two to three months, and stick to it––don’t give up after only a few runs!
One of the biggest mistakes potential runners make is starting their first few runs too fast or running too far. They often become discouraged because it’s too hard and seems daunting. But think about this: no marathoner just decided to run 26.2 miles one day. They trained over months and months to get to that point, beginning with short distances and working their way up to longer ones. They started in the same place as you.
My advice: ease into running gradually. Start with run/walk intervals, and slowly decreasing/increasing them. So for example, you can start by walking for nine minutes and running for one minute, then at your next session, walk for eight minutes, running for two minutes, etc. Some runners stick to a run/walk program for all distances, and that’s a wonderful option, too!
Try not to increase your pace and your distance at the same time. I recommend new runners to focus only on distance at first. When you’ve mastered your target distance, then you can work on pace if you want. It would be overwhelming to try to increase both at one time! Count your victories in minutes instead of miles, and set small goals for yourself. You truly should have a long term goal and many short-term goals. This will help keep you motivated and encouraged by achieving small goals along the way!
“I love running because it is like hitting the "reset" button. It's time to think (or not think) and just be, without all of the distractions of daily life.” - //endurerunconquer.blogspot.com">Endurerunconquer.blogspot.com
Another thing that’ll make you love running is to get new shoes. Now, I don’t mean any pair of shoes; I mean a great set of comfortable running shoes. If you’re running in uncomfortable shoes that are the wrong size, your run is going to be miserable no matter how hard you try. Runners only really need one thing: a good pair of running shoes. It’s worth the investment and can be the sole (pun!) difference in loving or hating runs.
You could take it a step further and buy yourself a running outfit. Sometimes just treating yourself to a nice running outfit can work as a huge motivator for lacing up and getting out the door. If you feel good in what you’re wearing, it can help you be confident and comfortable as you run! It also helps some people to make a great running playlist; music can be an incredible motivator, and make your run much more exciting.
Keep yourself accountable, too. Don’t rely on just the new pair of shoes and outfit to get you committed. Schedule time for running the same way you schedule a doctor’s appointment: write it down and stick to it. If you incorporate a run into your daily schedule and routine, you’ll be more likely to follow through. Think of your run as “you time.” Time that you can just be at peace and just leave all your stress behind. Running can be your escape, so be sure to give yourself the time for you and don’t let anything stop you!
“As a new runner who has fallen in love with it, it's about how I feel afterwards. It's about how I push myself every step and push to go further than last time and the feeling that I get when I accomplish that.” - //chanigetshealthy.com">Chanigetshealthy.com
Keep Things Fresh
Many beginner runners get discouraged because they think experienced runners run everyday––but that’s not true! Running every day can lead to injury and boredom. That’s why many runners build in some cross-training to mix up their workouts, and exercise different muscles while resting from running. You could consider cycling, kickboxing, barre, or swimming.
It’s important to keep things as fresh and exciting as possible. Join a new running group, try a new route, or try different types of runs. (Did you know there isn’t just one way to run? You could try tempo, fartlek, hill intervals, high intensity interval runs.)
One of my favorite ways to help people fall in love with running is by encouraging them to sign up for a race. It doesn’t have to be anything competitive: maybe it’s a local 5K for charity, a race in a city you’ve always wanted to visit, or a fun themed race such as the Color Run or Electric Run. So many runners will say they truly fell in love with running after they crossed the finish line in their first race.
“Running is life's greatest metaphor… It has taught me change doesn't come without discomfort. You just have to breathe through the pain, discomfort and push past the wall. Understand that it's temporary and you'll see great results on the other side. I'm a better person and human being for it!” - //leangirlsclub.com">Leangirlsclub.com
Being a runner automatically makes you part of a global community. You’ll always have friends, and it’s so easy to meet new people. You can join a running group or run with a friend, meet other runners on the trail, visit a running speciality store, or chat with people before a race. There’s no shortage of ways to make friends who share a passion for running, and those people will help fuel your fire and increase your own drive. You’ll learn so much from other runners. They’ll inspire you, and in turn you may eventually inspire others by just being you. And that makes everything worth the effort.
“Running is hard. It's mentally and physically hard. But if you want to see what your spirit is made of, if you want to have such a huge sense of accomplishment for setting a goal, go run and don't stop. Winners don't quit.” - //sharpendurance.com">Sharpendurance.com
Running can mean so many things to different people. For some, it’s a way to be healthy and fit, while others use it as a way to de-stress from the day. Some use running to set personal goals and work to achieve them by pushing their bodies to new places, while others like to use it as a way to spend time with friends or family.
Whatever running means to you, it is a wonderful gift that we have to be able to run. To have the freedom to stand up and push our bodies to new limits. There are so many reasons why you shouldn’t run, but I bet there are even more why you should. So why not give it a try? Trust me, you just may fall in love.