Can I just start off this post by saying I used to absolutely hate running. I may have been that person in gym class who ran one lap shorter than we were supposed to and called it good. I am by no means athletic, I was the “cool” kid in high school who worked instead of playing sports. I just wanted to make the point that I am by no means athletic and if I can run, anyone can run! I used to say psh running? Ya right. That is until a couple years ago. I started an 8 week challenge with some friends and part of the challenge was to exercise. Now I am all about a good challenge so I decided to give running another try. I wanted to lose weight, and didn’t really feel walking was going to cut it. Starting out, however, I was a little overly optimistic. I set out with my old pair of sneakers, no stretching, no walking to warm up, just full blown running. I maybe made it a block before I thought I was going to die. Pathetic I know. I wondered if this running thing really was for me, I mean I couldn’t even make it a block. But I wasn’t about to back down from a perfectly good challenge so I kept trying. I am glad I didn’t give it up, because now I absolutely love running, I am so glad I stuck with it. Here are a few tips from an ex runner hater to you, in the hopes to encourage you that you can be a runner if you want!
1. Start slow
Don’t expect to run a marathon right off the bat. Or if you are like me, even a block :). Set your goals small and work up to a bigger goal. Start with a mix of running and walking. When I first started I would walk aways to get warmed up then I would run a little and walk again. I started setting minimum time limits of running, 30 seconds, then 1 min, then 5 min. Just keep increasing the time as you feel ready too. Don’t be ashamed to walk in-between your running. It’s how your build yourself up! Set mini goals like time limits, or distances for short term goals while also setting bigger goals for a long term goal. Giving yourself something to shoot for spurs motivation! There is a quote I love, if you aim at nothing, you will hit it every-time!
2. Listen to something encouraging.
Whether it is a playlist on iTunes or an encouraging podcast, find something that motivates you or excites you. It is hard to get motivated when your mind is dreading the run. Listing to something will help take your mind off the dread of dying 🙂 Plus it will pump you up and get you rearing to go!
This is seriously so important. When I first started running I would find myself gasping. It would lead to a little panic and I thought my lungs might shut down on me. I know, very dramatic, but it seriously would get me panicky, and I wouldn’t be able to run very long. When I learned to control my breathing it went so much smoother. Breath slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth. Don’t allow your breathing to get out of control. When you feel you can’t do the controlled breathing any more, stop and walk to get back to controlled breathing. You are training yourself on how to breath properly. Your controlled breathing may get a little faster and deeper as you run longer, but as long as you are not huffing and puffing with no control at all, you are good! This is really hard at first, but with practice it become easy!
4. Find your groove.
Figure out where you do best at. For me it is outside. I can go a lot longer and father when I am surrounded by nature. For some it is inside on a treadmill. For others it may be running with a friend. Find what works best for you and do it!
5. Take care of your body.
-This is coming from the physical therapist inside me. Take care of your body! Get good running shoes. This is one area, if you are serious about running to splurge on. I even suggest getting fitted for running shoes. If you are wearing shoes that don’t fit you right you may not run naturally causing compensations of different muscles. Running does cause more impact on your joints and muscles, so by getting a good pair of running shoes it will help keep your muscles and joints happy!
-Don’t run the same path all the time (outside running). Say you run around the track, if you always run one way your muscles will get “one sided” if that makes sense. Our bodies need diversity to stay balanced. Switch up which way you run on the track every other time to keep your body balanced. Same goes on the road. Don’t always run on one side of the road, or the same exact course, or even always running on the sidewalk. Mix it up, its good for your body and for your mind! By mixing it up it will also lead to a decreased risk of shin splints.
-Stretch before and after runs. Flexible muscles= less pain, more mobility. Your calfs, hamstrings, and quads are the most important to stretch. This again goes back to balancing our bodies, stretching and strengthening go hand in hand.
6. Get fun work out clothes.
I know this is kind of a silly one, and really not that important, but it’s all about motivation right? Seriously though, I used to run in an old T-shirt, but there are so many fun exercise shirts and outfits out there, I decided I needed something fun. I seek inspiration constantly. I have bible verses and quotes sprinkled around my house. Hence the need for an inspirational shirt for running. I am kind of cheap so I ended up buying some clearance shirts and adding fun things like silhouettes of things I love or sayings like my shirt below, “be brave”. I have seen all sorts of fun shirts and tank tops with inspirational sayings on them. It really does add an extra dose of motivation for me to get in an inspiring shirt for running. Whether you make your own, or buy a shirt, try atleast one 🙂
7. Have an accountability partner.
Do you know someone who wants to pursue a goal of their own? Whether it be running or something entirely different, team up and constantly encourage each other. Check in with each other to see how you are doing. What progress you are making. If they want to run also, maybe even run together! Just keep each other motivated to keep going!
8. Get an exercise app.
When I started running I downloaded the Nike running app. It tracked how far I had run, my time, and how fast I ran per mile. It would total up the miles at the end so I could see how far I had run over a period of time. I remember when it his 75 miles. Talk about encouraging! Now of course it was over an amount of time to add up to that, but still knowing how far you run is super exciting!
9. Determine why you want to run.
I think I may write a post later about why I run. There are so many reasons! But you need to determine for yourself why you want to! Weight loss? Stress relief? Hobby? Marathons? A personal challenge? Whatever it is have that in mind to keep you motivated!
10. Keep going.
The beginning of running (at-least for me) was no fun at all. If you are like me, you will most likely want to quit. You may wonder why you would want to do something that feels like death. But if you stick with it, it gets natural and enjoyable. You feel amazing after you are done and before long you will actually want to run. You will feel so accomplished when you go from an runner hater, to a runner lover! You can totally do this!
11. Oh and by far the most important one! Take your very own super cute cheerleader 🙂 :). vvvv