One of the questions I get the most from friends, family and new/beginner runners is: “How can I actually enjoy running?”. Many people recognize the health and fitness benefits of running, but I’ve also noticed many of those same people automatically think of the bad. “Oh this is gonna suck”, “Running is boring”, “I can’t wait for it to be over”.
When people read one of my running posts, see me coming back from a run, or hear me talking about running I often get asked, “do you actually enjoy running? Is it fun for you?” and the comment “I would run more if I actually enjoyed it”.
Here are 7 tips to start enjoying running!
- Go at your own pace – Really, its just that simple. You can decide how far, how fast, or how slow you want to run. Alternate running, walking, and jogging if running the full distance at once is too intimidating! The great thing about this approach is that you can set your own personal goals without letting someone dictate them for you. Even if your walk break is shorter than your previous run, its a victory!
- Run with groups and friends – Running on your own can get dull, get a friend involved and tackle it together! This can give you a training partner you can trust and creates another common interest for conversation. Maybe your friends are flakes, fortunately there are many running groups out there that train at a conversational pace. Visit a local specialty running store, chances are they have a weekly group run! Even if they don’t, they can point you in the right direction! Running with others can be a great motivational boost and make those miles fly by!
- Find a fun / scenic place to run – Maybe running laps around your block is not appealing to you, find a more interesting location! Does your local area have a scenic trail, a beach w/ a bike path, maybe a high school or college track is more appealing? Websites like http://www.mapmyrun.com can help you find the most popular running routes in your area to keep things fresh and fun!
- Switch it up – Now that you have found new routes, try switching up the type of runs! Short quick runs, longer slow runs, hills, interval runs, track workouts, etc. The idea may sound intimidating at first, but just remember there are no rules! If you want to try a different type of run just do it! Be like a kid, let your imagination run wild! Literally, if you like to run down hills, start off doing that! Why not?
- Join an online community – Online running/fitness communities such as http://www.dailymile.com, http://www.strava.com, http://www.nikeplus.com and many more, are increasing in popularity. These communities can give you some extra motivation by allowing you to meet runners from all over the world who share the same goals! You can comment on others’ workouts and have them comment on yours, and you can join and participate in challenges to give your training that extra push!
- Rock the run – Music can be a great boost for a new runner. Uptempo music can rev you up and motivate you to run longer, further, and even faster. It can also get you through a tough part of a run when your getting tired! I have 2 tips for running w/ music… Be safe and Use it accordingly. You don’t want the volume of the music so high that it is distracting you from your surroundings and you cannot hear traffic around you. Keep the music at a reasonable volume, where you’re still able to hear ambient noise. If running with a friend or a group, it can be considered bad etiquette to listen to music when others want to engage you in conversation.
- Sign up for a race – Some people simply need to be challenged, and feel that running is boring, or not as exciting without a goal. The easiest way to set a goal is to sign up for a race! Start off with a 5k and go from there! Find a training program that fits your schedule and lifestyle, (there is no shortage of variety in this area). Most importantly, remember to keep things fun! In addition to traditional road races there have been a flurry of new “event” runs like mud runs, color runs, electric runs, and even zombie runs! The point is to make these events fun, party atmospheres. Find the event that suits you and go for it!
So these are my 7 tips for how to make running enjoyable. Remember these are just tips and not rules! The main rule is that there ARE no rules; experiment and explore! Find what works for you and just have fun!