I started running recently and for once I don’t hate it. Crazy, right?
Some of you are thinking, “Yes! Running is great!” and the rest of you are thinking, “Yeah RIGHT, I hate running. You’re crazy!”
I used to be the in the “yeah right” group. I would run for a couple of weeks, 10-15 minutes per run, then quit because I hated it. I could never run far, breathing heavily throughout, always got side cramps and I would stop.
Shortly after Thanksgiving, a friend of mine asked me to run a 15K with her. I had been thinking lately that I wanted to start running again so this was the perfect opportunity. But ooh man a 15K? Thats 9.3 miles!
The first time out, I did intervals of running, walking, running, and thought, “Okay, let’s do this!” The second time, I ran half of a mile and I was dying. So therefore, I felt like it was once again impossible.
HOW DO YOU RUNNERS DO IT? HALF MARATHONS? MARATHONS? I DON’T GET IT!
I still chose to do the race, but only a 5K. Just 3.1 miles, that’s doable, right? I talked with my husband and he encouraged me to use the Couch to 5K training program.
Somehow, I am still running, and I DON’T HATE IT! Seriously you guys, I ENJOY it. I am amazed at myself.
Want to know how the heck I did it? Here are my 13 tips on how to NOT hate running!
- Change your mindset
- I want to, NOT I have to. When I started training I had a totally different mindset. I was not thinking, “I have to run, ugh. I just want to get this over with.” Stop thinking that. Even if you don’t like it, give it some time. Good things take time. I ended up liking it at the end of week 2! (About 6-7 runs)
- Set a goal. Stick to it.
- The goal for me was a 5K (3.1 miles). Don’t stop or give up until you finish the goal. Before you even leave for your run, no matter how long or short it is, be thinking, “Alright, this is my running goal today. I will take it slow and finish it. If I have to stop, it’s OK. I want to finish.”
- Couch to 5K training
- This was the perfect program for me to start with. It was a simple, pre-planned schedule that was doable. Training time goes up to 30 minutes and then race day!
- Make a physical schedule
- I made a physical schedule and wrote out the training plan for all 9 weeks. Each day after the run I cross it off. Even though I feel the runs getting better, it is encouraging to see my progress on a schedule.
- This is one of the most important steps besides just getting out there and doing it. Invest in good shoes! If you have bad shoes, it is going to hurt your knees, ankles, and other joints.
- Stretch, before and after.
- I am telling you right now, STRETCH. Stretching helps your body before, during, and after your run. Not a quick stretch, a good 10-15 minutes before running to get your muscles warmed up and 15 minutes or more after. I am much LESS sore when consistently stretching.
- Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.
- This one is simple. Don’t just drink water an hour before you run. Make sure to continually hydrate with WATER each day. It is no fun to run when you are dehydrated.
- Make a music playlist
- I really like to listen to music that is mood boosting, upbeat, and fast-paced. I definitely jam out to certain songs and it takes my mind off the distance.
- Set a timer and DON’T LOOK
- Couch to 5K starts out with 2 or 3 minutes running. When you set your timer to run, DO NOT look at the timer. If you look, all you are going to think is, “Ugh I still have 5 minutes, 3 minutes, 1 minute left.” Some people don’t mind looking at the timer, but this does nothing good for my mental state during the run.
- Run where there is scenery
- One of the best things I found was to run where I could look at scenery, not just another house. I live in a city right near the gulf coast and there are many paths down by the water that I love to look at while running. It helps take your mind off of the hard parts.
- Run with people!
- After a few weeks of training, the longest I had run was 8 minutes. I went to the running club at my work and ran 1.5 miles; 15 minutes! It was no problem with the encouragement of a fun group.
- Take it slower than you want to
- When I started, I was trying to keep a 9:30/9:45 pace. I was breathing hard and had loads of side cramps. It was difficult breaking through the 10 minute barrier. But things became much easier once I slowed my pace down. I started back at 10:30/10:45 minute pace and this allowed me to conserve energy for the entire run. Even after running 2 miles I wasn’t breathing hard and my sides stopped cramping! I am not loving how slow I am going but, guess what? It’s working great!
- Do not stop
- Do not stop running just because it is hard at first. Don’t stop just because you can’t get rid of the side cramps, they will eventually go away. Don’t stop because you don’t enjoy it that much yet. Don’t stop because you feel like running is impossible. I PROMISE, it is possible. And easier than you think.
I went from hating running because I wasn’t good at it to actually enjoying it. Sometimes I will have a bad run every now and then, and it makes me want to stop. But I keep going. Doing all these things listed above made the difference for me.
I hope they help you too.
Thanks for reading,
Phillipians 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”