Until about two years ago, I absolutely hated running. Not surprisingly (and like many things) my hatred was completely unfounded – I hadn’t really ever tried it, I didn’t have the right approach or motivation, and I didn’t give credit to how much we and our opinions, desires, and preferences grow and change over time. So, I gave it a shot. I totally sucked, but at least I was outside, getting free exercise, and feeling much better. I decided to start small and pay close attention to my skill level, progress, and elements that I did and didn’t like. Wondering what I’m talking about? Here are some examples:
My feet and ankles would be in pain when I ran… until I realized that my shoes were hurting me instead of helping me. I went to a great running store (that’s now closed or I would shout out) and invested in the right pair of running shoes for me and my needs.
I would get SO bored and then distracted by changing my music all the time… until I started creating special running playlists and listening to 30-120 minute long podcasts that keep my mind focused and feet moving.
I would run alone (and thus, more bored) because I was too afraid that I couldn’t keep up with my runner friends… until I recruited a non-runner friend to start running with me! By starting from square one together, we both felt free of judgment and pressure, which was perfect.
I would skip my planned run because I made excuses that I didn’t know a good route or felt like I was running without a purpose… until I started using resources like Map My Run and Nike+GPS. I also realized that I did much better when I had a destination in mind that I could run to and from!
I would get discouraged because I wanted to prepare for the 3.1 mile 5K race I signed up for, but I didn’t always know the distance I was running… until I started running with a time goal (like, I’m going to run for 10 minutes straight) instead of a distance goal. As a new runner and based on my skill level, I could pretty much count on running a 10-12 minute mile, so I progressively increased my run time goals until I was running for 30 minutes straight (which is exactly the time it took me to finish my actual 5K race).
I was upset that I didn’t feel motivated to keep going and going and going (like a lot of runners I know)… until I came to terms with the fact that (at least right now), I like running shorter distances. Telling myself, “go for a 25 minute run” works so much better for me than deciding I’ll just go out and run until I feel like stopping or setting unrealistic distance goals.
Based on my experience, here are my recommendations:
Just starting out?
Been running for a while?