Running is boring. It’s hard. It hurts. It’s lonely. And it doesn’t give you immediate results. Right?
While we don’t think any of these are necessarily good excuses (or altogether true!), we do understand it’s not always love at first run for anyone who ever decides to lace up and hit the pavement.
Set a goal.
Establishing a goal for each run (even if it’s just to not walk!) creates benchmarks of your progress and a sense of accomplishment. “I used telephone poles when I was getting started,” says Feller. “Each time I ran, I told myself to make it to ‘one more pole.’” Eventually, you might find yourself setting even crazier goals, says Elizabeth Maiuolo of Running and the City, “like running over all of the NYC bridges or covering three different parks in one run.”
“Don’t even think about pace at the beginning,” says Amanda Loudin, the voice behind Miss Zippy. “Many people get discouraged at first because they want to run ‘fast.’ So they go out and kill themselves, then feel dejected and discouraged.” Coach Ryan Knapp of Out and Back emphasizes running at a conversational pace, meaning you should be able to talk on-the-go. While it may go against the “No pain. No gain.” mentality, it “ensures you are building your aerobic endurance and teaching your body to become more efficient, which is the key to running,” he says.
Yes, it can be isolating to run alone, but we say there’s plenty of road to share. “Ask a friend you haven’t seen in a while to run with you,” says Jocelyn Bonneau, better known as Enthusiastic Runner. “Catch up while running and the miles will fly by as you chat!” Julie Curtis of ROJ Running adds that your date could also be a romantic one. “Studies have shown couples who run together, stay together,” she says. “Take your crush out for a little jog or reignite passion in your long term relationship. That post-workout glow could lead to a few more calories burned — if you know what I’m saying.”
Play a game.
Remember all those silly road trip games your parents would use to entertain and distract you on long car rides? Even on your feet, you can still take them on the road! Play “20 Questions” with a friend or try to find all of the letters of the alphabet on the street signs you pass if you’re running solo.
Discover the road not taken.
If you ate the same food for lunch every day, you’d inevitably get bored, and it’s the same with running! “Slogging along the same path every day can get old really fast,” says Feller. Blogger Gabrielle Kotkov of Marathons and Macarons suggests picking a place that feels special. “It could be as simple as the foliage in the park, or the sunset along the river,” she says. “I first fell in love with running in the park in autumn.” Theodora Blanchfield, coach and creator of Preppy Runner agrees, adding that even if you have to travel to your new route first, “running is the best way to see new spots and explore somewhere new on foot!”
Treat yo’ self.
We hate to sound shallow, but sometimes there’s nothing like some new gear to get us going. “A flashy training outfit will make me want to run faster and longer,” admits Maiuolo. Michelle Roos of Pawsitively Delightful also abides by this approach. “If I have time (and money), I will buy either a new pair of shorts or a tank that will act as a reward for all of the hard work that I’ve done up until then,” she says. “If it’s something I know I’ll want to race in later, I can test it out!”
Find a happy ending.
If you could have anything waiting for you at the end of a hard run, what would it be? For Emily Halnon of Sweat Once a Day, it’s simple. “Beer,” she says. “I recommend ending most runs with a pint of the good stuff.” Abby Land, who writes Back at Square Zero, believes in the power of runch. “You meet a buddy and run/walk to your favorite brunch place,” she says. “Woo hoo for runch!” And with all the calories you burn running, who could blame Kotkov, who says she’s run straight to an ice cream shop before? As for Feller, her ultimate destination reward is “a dog park, filled with precious puppies.” It’s all about what puts a smile on your face.
Measure your success.
Keep a written log of your life as a runner. If you’re an analytical person, says Orlando, “track your progress through spreadsheets or sites like MapMyRun or RunKeeper.” As you continue to improve and feel more comfortable on your feet, you’ll be able to look back and have tangible notes of your training progress. Impressed by your success? Sounds like it’s time for more treats!
Maybe you’ve done a few local 5Ks and want to take running to the next level. Sign up for a race a few months away that seems a bit out of your league and then chase it down. “Find races that you know you won’t PR in so you can approach it differently,” says Hylton. “Whether it has crazy hills or is on a trail or a new distance, you’ll avoid falling into a trap of same-old, same-old.”
Want the run.
Becoming a runner is about recognizing the value in every step along the way. “You need to want the run you are striving to achieve,” says Roos. “If you want to run a marathon at a goal pace, that end goal is what’s driving you through the run right in front of you (that you might not want at the time). The want for the end goal needs to be greater!” Hofheimer agrees it’s all about remembering why you run. “The bigger picture is the most important thing to me,” she says. “Running makes me feel alive and strong and connected to myself.”
Maybe running isn’t for everyone, but you won’t know until you try — and these are some ways to at least have fun while doing so. But according to Feller, the best tip we can offer is to power through. “When you’re getting started, the fight is as much mental as it is physical,” she says. “You want running to be fun right away? I assure you, it’s not going to be. But once you can find the mental strength to push through the initial tough ones, the runs that follow will truly be a blast.”
Love running? Do you have tricks to share and inspire others? Love your feedback or comments below!
Adapted from original article