How I Learned to Enjoy Running

It’s true. No one is more surprised than I am but I do in fact enjoy running now. I voluntarily get up early on the weekends to run a race (which I pay to do) with a bunch of other crazies. It wasn’t always this way. I used to loathe running. It was the worst part of dry-land when I was swimming. It changed in college when the most convenient form of stress relief was to step away from the desk and run. Then it became an every day form of exercise. And now I run twice a day most days. So what changed? How did I get here?

1. Invest in the right shoes.

Two key words in this point: Invest and right. Invest: means do your research about your foot (flat or high arches), about your stride (pronation or neutral), how much cushion you want (minimal to mid to a lot) etc. There’s a lot of technology that goes into running shoes now and you should be educated before making a purchase because it can make the difference between injuries or the right fit. Right: try shoes on, take it for a test run— this does not mean walking around the shoe store. A lot of running stores have treadmills with cameras on them to film your stride and I definitely recommend taking advantage of this. Take note of what the shoe is designed for-trail running vs road running. If you’re just getting into running, there’s a shoe for that; if you’re moving to minimalist, there’s a shoe for that; if you’re trying to fix your stride, there’s a shoe for that. Get the picture? There is a right running shoe for you.

2. Accountability partner

Mine happens to be an early rising energetic puppy but a human friend works too. I also have my friend who I do races with. We’re apart of a Read and Run Club of just us. It works. Kira (le puppy) insists on getting me up before 7 most days for a walk so I need no better opportunity for a run in the morning and then she needs a walk at night so there’s my second time. It’s by no means fast or even at great distances but I run, every day because Kira says so. Signing up for races is another way to keep yourself accountable. Those things cost money and if you pay for a race I would hope you would train for it. Not to mention the power of hubris during a race in which no one wants to at the end.

3. Consistency

Goes a long with point 2, but I like the idea of ‘no matter how slow you’re going, you’re still lapping those on the couch’. Not every run is going to be your best run but just the fact that you head out there each day, or every other day or whatever your schedule is, will make a difference. Commit to it. It takes so many days to form a habit then soon enough your whole day will feel off when you don’t run. Consistency is the only way that running will become easier, the only way you’ll become faster and stronger.

4. Don’t start with distance

This is becoming a more popular choice. Not to say you’ll run a certain distance each time, instead opt for running for a certain amount of time. Some days will be harder than others, some days you’ll be more tired than others, running for time helps you to focus on your endurance and your pace and your breathing rather than just getting down on yourself because you didn’t make 3 miles. Make timed intervals if it helps. You don’t have to make it hard on yourself.

5. The physical and mental benefits

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” -Elle Woods

The endorphins are a natural high that is hard to beat. When you get to the point when you’re so tired but elated at the same time, that’s when you know you struck gold. Besides the endorphins, it may sound counterintuitive but you’ll have more energy, you’ll sleep better, you won’t get tired as easily and you’ll gain strength, not just in your legs but in your core and heart wise too. You’ll be less stressed or it can be used as a stress relief and you’ll be exercising will power as well. There’s a whole slew of other benefits but these are the ones that I have found to have been the most beneficial in my life.

Those are the top five reasons that running has become an integral part of my life now. It all starts with a decision to commit. And it’s worth it. There is a strong camaraderie among runners. Until you’re apart of this odd group of people who think that pushing their bodies further and further until it hurts is good sport then you just won’t understand how good it can be. So try it out! Get off your but and go run!