How To Make Yourself Like Running
Running is stupid. You get sweaty, your joints hurt, your body is flopping everywhere, and you’re not even sure you’re doing it right. I know. About two years ago, I, too, thought running was a crock of crap, existing solely for the Crossfit show-offs who wanted to remind me that I’m a size 8 when they’re all size 2. I am a highly skeptical person and it takes a lot to make me exercise. With that skeptical mind, I am bringing you the four ways to make yourself like running. I promise, it’s easier than it looks.
- Join a training group or run club.
I ran a half-marathon last year with next to no training. I was slow, but I had fun. This year, I made myself train for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco. I joined the half-marathon training group at my local Fleet Feet, and while it’s fabulous to run with other folks who are trying to be better, it’s also fabulous to know what the hell you’re doing. You immediately have access to resources. You can find out what you like, and what you don’t like (Gu: bad. Sports Beans: good.). You also get access to gear that helps your run be better – from socks to hats to the right pair of pants that don’t make your legs chafe. Learning to run with other people is great because you suddenly have a tribe – a tribe that will listen to you complain about your joints and then tell you Rock Tape is a savior. I shaved 15+ minutes off of my 13.1 time, all of which I credit to my training group.
- Don’t run the same route every time.
You know why your run is boring? Because you’re seeing the same stuff. You know to turn around at the elementary school because that’s your half way point. You know where the hard hills are to avoid. Mix it up. Using MapMyRun is a good technique for experiencing new routes, but I also encourage you to wake up early one morning and visit your local paved trail. Running outside will always be more fun than running on a treadmill, so even if you’re waking up 30 minutes earlier, it will be worth it. The element of surprise is crucial!
- Look for the joy in your run.
I was determined to do my half in San Francisco in less than three hours, despite the hills. I had to stop for a bathroom break, which threw off my time. I had to weave in and out of people, which threw off my time. But when I rolled up on Golden Gate Bridge, I suddenly stopped giving a shit about my time and took selfies with that big red monument. Find that in your run. See a cool house? Stop and enjoy it. See a cute guy? Give him a wave. Distract yourself with happy things while you’re running and you’ll associate that run with happy things. I recommend following Run, Selfie, Repeat – this runner blog is a great spot for poking fun at running and encourages you to share the good stuff.
- Compare your old runs to your new ones.
There’s a caveat to this one – don’t compare all your runs to each other. Sometimes runs are hard, and sometimes they’re less hard (ha, LOL @ “easy”). But your time WILL get better. You WILL be stronger. Feel how your body recovers now, versus how it used to recover. Feel how strong your muscles are, and how strong your brain has gotten to resist the urge to quit. I already know you’re a badass – show running who is boss!