Every so often I take a break from running- life gets too busy, or maybe I’m traveling, maybe
it’s due to an injury… Whatever the reason, I end up staying in the hiatus for longer than I ever initially planned, all because starting back up again is the worst.
I know I’ll feel better. I know it’ll only suck for a little while. But however much I want to get started again, it requires all my motivation and the stars aligning in order to actually get my running shoes on.
For me, it’s because I often focus on the negative- I know my lungs will burn, I’ll get that metallic taste in my mouth, cramps in my side and if I over do it, an old high school knee injury will flare up again.
So how do you combat this, and actually want to run? I’ve found these tricks to help me strap on my shoes on the worst of days:
2 minutes on, 1 minute off
Just as it sounds, run 2 minutes, then walk 1 minute. You can play around with the timing, running for 1 minute, walking for 5! A lot of times I get stuck in this predetermined idea of what it means to actually run. You don’t HAVE to run the entire time- remove any mental gatekeeping or predetermined ideas of what running has to look like. Do what you can, screw the rest.
Run for distance, not for time
It’s only up until recently that I have stopped caring about pace and time. Growing up playing sports, there was a huge amount of importance tied in with how fast you ran a mile. By removing that pressure and just running for a predetermined distance, I’ve found that I can enjoy my run, look around and take in my neighborhood, and also not kill myself trying to maintain pace on the uphills.
Run to run
As of right now, I’m beginning marathon training, so distance is important, BUT if you’re not training and you’re running to run, maybe the goal is just that. In January of this year (‘22), I set out to run everyday. I didn’t place a distance or time goal. The only goal I had was to just get myself outside and moving. Some days I ran 5 miles, others I barely made it to 1. Each day I ran intuitively, which allowed me to push myself when I had the energy, or move slowly when I needed to do less.
Run with a buddy or find a run club
One of the key determiners of whether you are running aerobically or anaerobically is whether you can talk while you run. Running in the aerobic range increases heart health, is great for weight maintenance, and can help keep viral illnesses at bay. Finding a running buddy or a run club where you can chat as you go will help you keep your run in the aerobic range, will help you find some accountabili-buddies, and can turn running into a fun social activity, too.
Find your BPM pace
For me, if I listen to music while I run, I HAVE to run to the beat. If the playlist doesn’t have a consistent BPM, it messes with my breathing, my pace, my stride- overall it makes running unpleasant. So what I did was find a song with a beat I liked running to, googled it’s BPM, then searched for a playlist on Spotify with that BPM. I have a few different playlists depending on how fast I feel like running that day, but doing this allows me to zone out while I run, find a good flow and let my mind wander.
Listen to a good podcast
Sometimes my mind is a little too hyperactive to listen to music. If I get bored, running becomes unbearable. Instead of a BPM playlist that matches my stride, I’ll listen to a podcast. With a podcast, I can run however fast (or slow) I’d like, while also learning something in the process. The podcasts I listen to typically are ones that are mentally engaging where I’m almost completely distracted from the suck that can be running.
Focus on Form
The last tip I have for you is one I utilize on top of those previously listed. Running in proper form takes practice and conscious effort. If you’re running with improper form, you’re expending more energy to achieve your goal, and chances are it doesn’t feel great (not to mention can lead to injury). It is mentally stimulating and distracting from the discomfort of running to focus on a breathing rhythm, knee lift, negative foot strike, and heel kick. Two accounts on Instagram that I’ve found wildly helpful in figuring out my form have been @ChariHawkins and @TheBarefootSprinter
The reality is starting running is going to suck a bit. A lot of times, though, the brain makes you believe it’s going to be a lot more awful than it really is. By utilizing some of these tips and tricks, you’ll feel more confident in first starting out, and get over that mental hump a little faster.
Regardless of how far or fast, or how many times you stop, running is running. If you want to be a runner, but you only run 5 minutes, guess what- you are still a runner. So find some time, strap your shoes on, be patient with yourself, and start getting those miles in!
Were these tricks helpful? Comment below which ones worked for you best!
If you are looking to add more fitness into your life and not sure where to start, reach out and let’s chat. Fitness shouldn’t feel impossible or overwhelming- together we can find what works best for you!