Just like any habit, learning to love running takes a bit of effort and time. Few people lace up their sneakers, get out and think, “this is something I’ll do for the rest of my life!” Running can be hard, especially when hot temperatures are part of the equation. Plus: It takes time to build essential endurance and get used to different things, like proper form and breathing right.
Determined to make running part of your regular routine? Here are seven small things you can do to make the activity more enjoyable:
The last thing you want to do is commit to doing too much too soon. When you’re beginning your running journey, start with a small, attainable goal — like getting outside for a set amount of time. Try for 15 or 30 minutes. You can do anything for 15 or 30 minutes! During that time block, integrate running and walking intervals — like 2 minutes on, 2 minutes off — giving your body time to acclimate to the new activity loads.
READ MORE > 6 WAYS TO MAKE RUNNING INTERVALS LESS DAUNTING
Going out and running the same exact route every day proves to be mundane after a short while. Mix up your training by taking different roads or trails close to home. If there’s a certain route you like to stick with, try mixing things up in a different way, whether that’s incorporating intervals or switching from your go-to playlist to a podcast. Finally, incorporate some strength training or cross-training to mix things up.
The great thing about tackling a run with a companion is that not only is it entertaining, but it can also be a great way to up the accountability factor. Plus, a new, emotionally supportive exercise partner might just be the motivation you need to work out more often, according to research.
Granted, running with others during the coronavirus pandemic may not be an option. In this case, using an app like MapMyRun to motivate one another is an excellent option. Compare runs and efforts with a friend regularly. Chatting about your training with others can help you feel more connected and stay more engaged.
READ MORE > THE POWER OF RUN FRIENDS
There’s something extra special about hitting your stride with a side of a stellar soundtrack. Plus, the right music can actually motivate you to push yourself for a longer period of time, according to a review published in the International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology. Experts found the right music can help push exercisers into “flow state,” where they report lower levels of exertion and maintain a better overall mood.
There’s nothing more exciting than seeing your hard work pay off! Whether it’s through an app or in a written running log, keeping track of your workouts and efforts as you continue to get out there is an excellent way to be your own biggest fan. Helpful tip: Write down how you feel after each run, too. This way, on the days that feel extra tough, you can look back and remember that you can do difficult things and push forward.
You wouldn’t expect to ace a math test without learning the material, so don’t begin your running journey hoping to be running legend Eliud Kipchoge on Day 1. Instead, find the small joys in daily runs, like absorbing your surroundings and getting to soak in some time outdoors.
All day long, we’re surrounded by constant stimulation — thanks to the beauty of technology. Use your running time as your opportunity to leave the chaos of social media at home, and enjoy your active time as a true chance to unplug. This could look like simply leaving your phone at home or ditching tech altogether — wearables included. Plus, ditching your running watch can actually help you become more attune with the feel of the run. A review of 50 studies on endurance performance, published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology, found trying to stick to a specific pace can be counterproductive.
Whether you want to run your first mile or set a PR, having a plan gets you there faster. Go to the MapMyRun app, tap “Training Plans” and set your next goal — you’ll get a schedule and coaching tips to help you crush it.