I’d love to be a runner but I hate running.
I’d love to be a runner, but I don’t have time.
I’d love to be a runner, but it’s boring.
I’d love to be a runner, but I don’t like to sweat.
I’d love to be a runner, but it’s too hard.
If you are a runner, you’ve probably heard this line a million times from others who want to run.
So you want to be a runner.
The truth is, running is hard work. There’s no doubt about it. But just like anything, the more you do it, your body gets accustomed to the impact, the straining and the hard work. It does become easier BUT still hard all at the same time. It doesn’t make sense but trust me, you’ll understand once you get to that point. It becomes a different kind of hard.
I’d love to say that every single run I’ve ever done was pure bliss. Hardly. I’ve had some serious suck-tastic runs where I wanted to throw away my running shoes and say “I’m never running again. EVER!”
Run because you enjoy it.
Go for a run in a place that makes you happy. Love the water? Run by it. Love the trails? Get dirty! Love to watch trashy TV? Catch up on it while you are on the treadmill. Find a running group and make it your social hour. Running by the water will always make a run 100% more enjoyable for me.
Go at your own pace
Don’t feel like you need to keep up with others. Find your own pace. When you first get started, you may need to try a run/walk combo. Running 5 minutes, walking 1 minute is a great way to get started to build up your endurance. As your build up your tolerance you’ll be able to extend your run/walk ratio. Eventually you will be running without breaks. Some people even find that a run/walk combo suites them just fine and continue on with that method for ever. It’s your own pace so stick to it!
One of the hardest thing to get down when you first start running is how to breathe. Your lungs will burn. You may get side stitches because you are taking too much air in. Slow your pace down or walk if you need to. Shallow, fast breaths are not what brings oxygen to your hard working muscles. You want deep, controlled breaths.
Find your motivation
What’s your motivation to lace up your running shoes? Want to lose weight? Want to run a 5K? Stress relief? Find what motivates you to get out there and get it done.
A runner can’t live on running alone. At least a runner who doesn’t want to get injured. Cycling and swimming are great options for cross training activities. You’ll still be working hard but it will be a different action than running. Gym equipment such as the elliptical or Arc trainer are great too. Of course, strength and balance training are also essential.
Dress the part starting at your feet up
Start with shoes and work your way up. For me, shoes are the key to having an enjoyable run. If your shoes aren’t working for you, then you’ll be uncomfortable, in pain or worse yet, injured. Once you’ve got that covered, then you can get the good tech gear that will wick away sweat and keep you (hopefully) chafe free.
Never trust a run based on the first mile (or two or three)
The first 10 minutes of any run are going to feel tough. You’ll likely feel stiff, achy, tired and ticked off. Some days it feels like everything is loose in my skull and it’s bouncing around. That’s completely normal and part of transitioning from being sedentary to being in motion. If you keep pushing your body forward — even if you’re walking — your weariness will soon evolve into “Ok, I can do this”. I promise. Just commit to 10 minutes of movement. You can do anything for 10 minutes. But more often than not, your muscles will feel warmed up, your heart rate will be elevated and you’ll start to feel energized, even excited to run.
You don’t have to run a half marathon, marathon or even race
Not all runners, race. My dad has always been a runner but has never done one single race. It’s not his thing. And if it’s not your thing, don’t do it because you think you’ll get kicked out of the Runner’s Club. If you run, you are a runner. Plain and simple.
If you are a runner, what are your tips for sticking with it?