10 Ways to Make Running More Enjoyable
We all have that friend that talks nonstop about the “runner’s high.” The come in from a long run, barely sweating, with a lit-from-within glow that lasts through the whole day. If that’s not you, don’t worry–you’ve come to the right place. There are ways to get through running if you don’t enjoy it but still want the exercise and the endorphins that come with it. If you’re wondering how to enjoy running instead of just enduring it, these ten tips are for you.
1. Wear the right gear
While running is one of the most inexpensive forms of exercise, it still requires an investment in a few essentials. You’ll need a comfortable pair of shoes to help support you as you run. Comfortable doesn’t have to mean frumpy, however. Find a pair of kicks that suits your style and makes you feel like a real runner.
Next, buy some comfortable clothing that is designed specifically for runners. It will keep you cool (or warm, depending on the weather), wick sweat to keep you comfortable and give your state of mind an extra boost as you set out on your run.
2. Ward off injury
It’s hard to learn to enjoy running if you keep getting sidelined by injury after you start a running program. To keep aches and pains at bay, take the time to stretch before you run and to warm up your muscles with a slow jog before you increase speed and cool them down the same way after you run. Core strength is another secret weapon for runners. A strong core supports your back and improves your form.
3. Build a great playlist
If you’ve never learned how to like running, you might not have the right soundtrack for your runs. Even if you love slow ballads more than life itself, try some upbeat music with a tempo that matches your ideal running speed. Download a variety of music and enough to keep your playlist fresh and interesting, no matter how long you run. As you sing along in your head (or out loud, if that’s your style!), you’ll find the time melting away and the miles adding up.
4. Use the buddy system
If you’ve always exercised solo, try grabbing a friend to go out on a run with you. Having a running partner that holds you accountable will make it less tempting to skip your runs or to stop running altogether. Plus, you’ll have someone to encourage you to keep going during a challenging run. If you don’t have friends who are interested in running with you, check your local running or sporting goods store for running groups and meetups. You’ll get in shape and make some new friends in the process.
5. Reward yourself
Instead of thinking of running as an obligation, start treating it as the means to a reward. When you meet a running goal, give yourself a treat like a new pair of shoes or a subscription to a running box like Fun Run Box full of gear, runner’s fuel, and monthly challenges. It will give you something to look forward to and supercharge your running success.
6. Try new routes
If your old running path is getting a little tired and worn, try charting a new path through a park you’ve never been to, or a nearby neighborhood you’ve never explored. The change of scenery will keep your mind off of your fatigue, and you’ll get to know your local area a little better in the process. Make sure you research the area first to stay safe while you run.
7. Work toward a goal
It’s easy to lose motivation when you aren’t working for something. Whether it’s a fun run or your first marathon, choose a goal, and design your running plan to meet it. As you check off runs and milestones, you’ll feel increasingly proud of yourself, and soon, you’ll be looking forward to your daily run instead of dreading it.
8. Be present in the moment
As you learn to fall in love with running, don’t focus on speed and mileage. Instead, enjoy the experience of being around other runners, whether in the gym or outdoors. And when you do run outdoors, take in the scenery around you. There is a great deal of beauty in the world that we miss when we’re traveling at our normal high-speed through life. Running allows us to slow down and take in the sights and sounds of the world around us.
9. Try interval training
If you’ve ever set out on a run and thought “all I want to do is stop,” then intervals are for you. Intervals allow you to combine running with walking or jogging for a heart-pumping workout that can burn calories long after you’re done. Try running the distance between three street signs, and then walking between the next two. Or if you’re on the treadmill, jog for two minutes and run hard for one minute. There is no right or wrong way to design your interval training program. Experiment with what challenges you and switch it up from time to time to keep things interesting.
10. Take your furry friend
If you have a pup with a lot of energy, try taking them on your next run. It may take some time for the two of you to get in a rhythm, but soon you’ll be hitting the pavement together for some extra bonding time.
The best advice for anyone who is learning how to love running is to do what works for you. One of the best parts about running is that it can be personalized to fit any individual. Above all, remember that you’re doing something good for yourself, and hold your head up high the next time you head out for a run.