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Running is awesome, but it can also be awful. In fact, if you were to ask me how I felt about running just two years ago, I probably would have responded with the exact opposite of that very sentence–“it’s awful, can be awesome. I guess. Probably for someone who isn’t me.” I hated it. I was terrible at it. I didn’t get it. Now, though? It’s one of my go-to ways to get in a good sweat session. Look, I fully understand that for some people, running is pure torture. If becoming a runner is one of your goals, however, there are ways to make that task less torturous and even ENJOYABLE. Seriously. It doesn’t have to suck. So YOU wanna be a runner?! Here’s how to get started without hating life.

  • Don’t go overboard. This is by far the most critical tip on this list: Start slow. Seriously–don’t be overly ambitious! When you’re getting started with running, focus on distance OR speed. Not both. Can you run for a minute? Five minutes? 10 minutes?Start there, and add on slowly. No one is expecting you to run a 5k in your first week of running, or to run a marathon after your first year! Similarly, try not to get discouraged if you feel as if you’re not progressing quickly enough. Your running “journey” is personal, and you have your whole life to figure it out! Focus on mastering the basics and making your new workout work for you.
  • Try the treadmill. Many seasoned runners loathe the treadmill, but it’s an amazing tool for those new to running. Is it boring? Yes. Is it beneficial? Yes! When you run on a treadmill, you get a climate-controlled environment, variable speed and incline, and less resistance and impact than you would if you were running outdoors. All of these variables can make your runs easier and more enjoyable. Just make sure to cover the timer display and you’ll be good! There’s literally nothing worse for a new runner than watching the seconds tick slowly by.
  • Consider the timing. Speaking of watching the clock, timing can have a surprisingly large impact on the relative ease {and therefore likely your enjoyment,} of a run. Do the trial-and-error thing when it comes to finding your optimal time of day to run, lacing up and hit the pavement whenever you have the most energy. Maybe it’s in the morning before work. Maybe it’s right after dinner. For me, it’s usually between 11am and 1pm. Try a few different times and see what makes you feel the best.
  • Dress for success. Proper shoes, sports bras, and layers for weather are absolute musts for any runner. Other critical pieces of equipment can include an armband to hold your phone, body glide to prevent chafing, and hats/sunglasses to keep the sun out of your eyes. Also mandatory if you’re running outside: SUNSCREEN! Dress {and prep!} for success, babes. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good outfit. A comfortable run is an enjoyable run πŸ˜‰
  • Distract yourself. Whether you’re running indoors or outside, finding ways to distract and entertain yourself while getting in your miles is a critical part of having a non-sucky experience. On the treadmill? Watch a gym, queue up some Netflix faves, or listen to a podcast. Outside? Curate the perfect power playlist! You should also use tech to your advantage–download running apps like Nike Running, Lorna Jane, or Run Keeper, for built-in motivation, mileage/time tracking, and social sharing. So good. If guidance is something you seek, the Nike and Couch to 5k apps offer interactive training programs for new runners. Want to be even further entertained?! Download Zombies, Run! and game-ify your workout routine.
  • Cross train. Make one exercise suck less by adding even MORE exercise? Yepper. It may not make running suck less while you’re actually DOING it, but cross training improves your overall strength and endurance, which helps your body to adapt and improves your fitness level. Strength train, take a yoga class, get to the barre, whatever. Mix it up, push yourself, and get stronger. This should make each and every run feel easier!

…Still hate it? Don’t do it! Testing your limits, pushing your boundaries, and expanding your horizons are all noble goals, but if you truly cannot stand running, even after you’ve been at it for awhile, STOP. Consider this your permission slip. Your sign. It’s 100% okay to NOT run. Don’t do something you hate or that makes you feel physically or emotionally bad. Hey, maybe you’ll pick up running in a few years {like I did!} and fall in love. Maybe you’ll ditch it permanently. Whatever works–either option is fine. Find what works for YOU and own it!

Do you have any tips for beginning runners?

xx,

Liza

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