Running is boring. It’s hard. It hurts. It’s lonely. And it doesn’t give you immediate results. Right?
While we don’t think any of these are necessarily good excuses (or altogether true!), we do understand it’s not always love at first run for anyone who ever decides to lace up and hit the pavement.
“The first time I tried going for a run, after spending my whole life as a dancer and avoiding the mile in gym class, I had fun for the first four steps,” says blogger Alison Feller of Ali on the Run. “But you know what is fun? The second run, the third run, the fourth run, the fifth run…”
Whether you’re a total beginner intimidated to take those first steps or you’ve recently taken a wrong turn straight into a running rut, we’re here to help you get moving in the right direction. That’s why we asked Feller and some of our other favorite running bloggers and coaches, to share their best tips for finding fun on the run.
1. Forget the past
Whatever feelings or fears you associate with running — leave them in your dust!
“Forget about the coach who made you run as a punishment,” says Sara Johnson, a coach at Reality Running. “Forget about those childhood memories of not being ‘the athlete.’ Just because running wasn’t fun for you in the past doesn’t mean it can’t be now.”
Matt Orlando of The Runner Dad says most initial stumbles are mental. “Being a runner isn’t about speed or skill; it is a mindset,” he says. “Whether you run a 4-minute mile or a 15-minute mile, all it takes is a pair of shoes and the desire to get out the door.”
2. Set a goal
Establishing a goal for each run (even if it’s just to not walk!) creates benchmarks of your progress and a sense of accomplishment.
“I used telephone poles when I was getting started,” says Feller. “Each time I ran, I told myself to make it to ‘one more pole.'”
Eventually, you might find yourself setting even crazier goals, says Elizabeth Maiuolo of Running and the City, “like running over all of the NYC bridges or covering three different parks in one run.”
3. Slow down
“Don’t even think about the pace at the beginning,” says Amanda Loudin, the voice behind Miss Zippy.
“Many people get discouraged at first because they want to run ‘fast.’ So they go out and kill themselves, then feel dejected and discouraged.”
Coach Ryan Knapp of Out and Back emphasizes running at a conversational pace, meaning you should be able to talk on-the-go. While it may go against the “No pain. No gain.” mentality, it “ensures you are building your aerobic endurance and teaching your body to become more efficient, which is the key to running,” he says.
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