Hate running? It’s not all your fault. I feel like we are programmed to dread working out. We grow up playing organized sports and running was often a sort of punishment . Or aside from a few strong athletes in class, many kids look at the pacer or mile run in gym class as a day to dread and linked running with misery and a coach with a whistle yelling at you.
Many adults try to implement healthy habits by setting up New Years resolutions, with great intentions. However, the execution is all wrong. The resolutions are often thought of restrictive or grueling. Another thing that has to get done. Going to over crowded gyms and hammering out miserable miles on the rat wheel counting down the time until they are done . No wonder these well-intended resolutions don’t stick.
Even in high school sports, as a track and cross-country coach it is one of the few sports we have to actively recruit for. Successful coaching at this level goes beyond the scope of planning and executing work out plans. We are actively seeking new talent and convincing them our sport really is worth trying.
The thing is, they always say it was worth it. There is a reason 14-18 year old kids are willing to give up a late Friday night for a long run on Saturday mornings. There is reason that runners, of all ages, are willing to get up at stupid o’clock in the morning for training runs. Find out what many established runners already know. Running can be enjoyable. Running can be a great way to build in some YOU time . It can be refreshing. It can be social. More important running can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling.
Jack Daniels has some basic laws of Running. Two of my favorites are;
- A runner’s focus must stay positive
Positivity is a choice. Do not underestimate the power of mindful thinking and choose to have a great attitude about the workout/run.
- Training should be rewarding
While they may not all be the best run ever, they should all be rewarding.
So what can we do to enjoy running more and make those new years resolution stick?
- Start small! There isn’t a minimum starting point. Building consistency is half the battle. Even for competitive runners. So start with small run and reasonable amounts that leave you wanting more and not counting the time ’till you are done.
- Slow down Novice runners are often guilty of running too hard. I know many of the runners I work with are shocked by the easy paces I have set for them. Just because you can run that pace doesn’t mean its the going to yield positive results. Completing 80% of your mileage at 59-74% of you maximum heart rate will make running much more enjoyable and lower your risks for injury. You can also use a recent race time and the VDOT calculator to see what your suggested easy pace really is.
- Get off the rat wheel (treadmill) There are definitely times the treadmill can be a useful tool but if you are starting out and trying to fall in love with running, I just don’t think you will find that love on a treadmill.
- Race for fun There are tons and tons of races out there you are sure to find something that tickles your fancy. They don’t all have to be super serious either. Sign up for some as workouts with 2,000 of your closest friends or wear a silly themed costumed. Racing atmosphere makes running more energetic and the more you engage with this awesome community, the more you will love it in return.
- Buy and outfit or two that makes you feel great If you feel awesome before your run you are more likely to look forward to it and enjoy it. So treat yourself. Get an outfit or gadget that makes you look forward to the run.
- Nike Running gear on amazon!
- Change it up Along the same lines as getting off the rat-wheel. Try switching up your runs. Hit up some trails or check out some pretty neighborhoods in your area. Enjoy the journey!
- Set a measurable goal and action steps to achieve it Whether it is a race time, a new distance or just getting in a routine set a reasonable goal and go for it. Celebrate the small victories along the way
- Log your runs and you victories Going along with mindfulness take a moment after each run to log your run and something positive about that run. You will begin to look for the positives in each run so that you can add it to your training journal.
- Hire a running coach You may be thinking your aren’t good enough for running, or you are too new. Starting out is great time to hire a coach. Someone who will guide your through common new running errors, and give you a nudge when you are feeling less that motivated.
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- Don’t rush it Don’t rush your progress and don’t worry if that “love” for running doesn’t happen right away. It may take time. The love of running comes from the journey not the destination. When you are able to reflect on the progress that you have made and the memories that you have shared, you will fall in love with our beautiful sport. Endurance training is deeper then the miles logged and the paces. It becomes a mindset, of strength and positivity.
- Run with others whether you are running with a buddy or joining a running group. Adding others makes the miles so much more enjoyable.
My best running is done when I am enjoying the company of friends . Running is a huge component of my social life. It’s uninterrupted quality conversation with amazing people. So stop thinking about running, as hard and grueling. Something you have to get through. Slow down, add in intervals of walking and jogging and focus more on consistency and enjoyment. The other parts will come with time. You’ll begin running for longer duration and the pace will slowly but surely pick up. You’ll have those break through moment and it will all be worth it.
Runners, what is it that you love most about running? Others, what is holding you back? Comment below!
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