Let’s be real, when you’re not a runner, running sucks. You see people running and they look miserable… and it’s those same people that are the first to tell you they just signed up for their next race. Wait, didn’t I just see you sweating your face off up that hill? You like doing that?!?
The simple answer is ‘Yes.’ Once you are able to push through the first 30 days of the ‘running sucks phase,’ it actually becomes enjoyable.
Personally, I’ve loved running, I’ve hated running, I’ve run because it clears my mind, I’ve run to lose weight, I’ve run to become faster, I’ve run to have “me time,” I’ve run for the free race t-shirts, I’ve run to get to a cool spot to take an Instagram photo… I can’t list all the reasons why I run, but I can tell you, you won’t regret starting.
Here’s MY five tips to help YOU get started:
- Find your WHY
Running is such a special and unique sport because there are infinite reasons to run and everyone can define their own WHY. Having a strong WHY makes it easier to get up with your alarm clock or lace up your shoes when the weather isn’t perfect (hello, pollen alerts!). Having a strong WHY keeps you focused, keeps you energized, and keeps you moving forward. Your WHY is your motivation. You can’t start without a WHY.
Feel free to start with one of these and mold into your own: to finish a 5k/10k/half/marathon, to lose weight, to look fitter, health reasons, for uninterrupted time to listen to Podcasts, a mental break from your day, an excuse to hang out with friends, to show my partner/kids/family/friends I can, to earn that donut, etc.
- Make goals to break goals
You gotta start somewhere. I like to start with making three levels of goals: the daily wins, the reach goal, and the big dream. The daily wins are small goals that can accomplish on a daily basis. Nothing keeps you motivated like feeling like you are winning each and every day. My reach goals are always realistic goals achievable in the next few months, while my big dreams are little seeds that I plant now with hopes if I start climbing that mountain now, I can get there someday. Dream big.
- Be your biggest cheerleader
Talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend: be positive, be encouraging, be supportive. Not every day is going to be awesome, but try to quickly brush off the not-so-great days and give yourself another shot tomorrow. I have had many runs where I stop, catch my breath, walk home, and tell myself “Okay, today wasn’t my day, that’s alright, let’s try again tomorrow.” Be your own biggest fan.
- Avoid the lone wolf syndrome
Running can be lonely at times and if you get tired of going at it alone, there are many ways to be supported by a group. Meet up with friends, show up to a running group at a local running store (there are people of ALL levels at group runs), or register for a training program (nothing holds you accountable like a coach). If those aren’t viable options, join Strava, a social media platform for runners and cyclists. You can follow your friends, upload your activities, and give kudos/comment on people runs to encourage (and they’ll do the same for you!). Having a supportive community is
- The name of the game is F.U.N.
Running is not brain surgery, it’s not a punishment, it really is a gift when you can break through the initial “this sucks” phase and reach a point of enjoying it…. but that’s the key. ENJOY IT! Play whatever mental tricks in your head to make it fun for you: let’s see how fast I can make it up that hill; what Podcast have I been dying to listen to and finally found the time while I am out running?; an excuse to wear some cute new workout clothes; if I can run 2 miles straight today, I’ll treat myself to a root beer float tonight! Whatever you need to do to make it fun, do it, because that’s the name of the game!