If you’ve ever dreamed of running a full marathon, or even just a 5K, you’ll need to learn to love running. As running is one of the most intensive cardiovascular workouts you can do, many people shy away from the inherent difficulty. But if you approach it the right way, anyone can learn to truly enjoy running. Here are seven tips to put you on the right path.
Before you lace up your sneakers, take a moment to reflect on why you want to run. Once you’ve tapped into your motivation, set concrete goals that you can work towards. For example, if you’re running to build cardiovascular endurance, set time or mile goals that progressively get more difficult each week. Actively pursuing a goal will help to inspire you when you feel like giving up.
Wear the Right Stuff
Though you can try running in just about anything, the right equipment will make your run much more comfortable. Your clothing should be thin and breathable, in a material that wicks moisture, and your shoes should be lightweight and supportive. If your current gear just isn’t cutting it, consider getting fitted at a specialty running store.
Slow It Down
If you find running to be frustrating, you may need to slow your pace. Switching to a light jog rather than a full-out run will allow you to get farther before expending all your energy. Not only will this boost your confidence, but it will allow you to steadily build your endurance. Remember, even the best runners were beginners once, so don’t worry about being judged for taking it slow.
Turn up the Music
Fun, upbeat music serves both as a way to elevate your mood and as a distraction from the run. Before your run, create a playlist of music that pumps you up and motivates you. If at any point you’re about to give up on your run, switching to your favourite song can give you a final energy boost. If music doesn’t work, try downloading a podcast or audiobook instead.
Change It Up
Having a routine is great, but if you’re not making any progress, it may be time to change it up. Treadmill runners may benefit from trying a run outside for the fresh air and scenery whereas outdoor runners may benefit from a treadmill to keep a steady pace in a temperature-controlled environment. Try different things until you find the running style that works for you.
Be Kind to Yourself
Suffering a bad injury is enough to put anyone off running forever. Always listen to your body so you don’t push yourself too far, too fast. If you feel like something’s wrong, err on the side of caution and let yourself rest. You should also always do dynamic stretching before your run to warm up your muscles, and static stretching afterward to cool down and improve your flexibility.
Try, Try Again
If learning to love running is really important to you, a good thing to remember is that it takes time. Running puts stress on the body, so beginners may feel exhaustion rather than euphoria. If you give up after a week or even a month, you haven’t given your body enough of a chance to adjust. With practice and hard work, going for a run will soon become your favourite part of your day.
Learning to love running is one of the best things you can do to improve your cardiovascular and overall health. But if everyone around you is running marathons and you’re just starting out, it can be both intimidating and frustrating. Using these seven tips, you’ll learn to truly enjoy your runs and be well on your way to reaching your fitness goals.