I've had lots of friends come to me for running advice, but the most common question I get is: How do I start enjoying running? Running isn't easy, especially in the summer. The best times to run are early in the morning or late in the evening and for most people that isn't ideal. After answering this question a few times I've come up with a list of ways to start truly enjoying running. Hopefully this will help!
1. Start out slow. If you pile too much on your plate and start out too heavy you will be sore, miserable, and discouraged. If you start slow by doing shorter runs a few days and week and building up from there you will be able to see progress and your endurance building. You will become more confident in your ability to run and soon be able to go for longer without stopping. For someone just starting out running I recommend you walk-jog-walk-jog each for a few minutes until your endurance builds up. Push yourself but don't increase distance or mileage too quickly or you risk injury. Try running 3 days a week, cross training (swim, elliptical, or bike) 2 days a week, and take a few days off. Improvement doesn't come quickly but it will come. Having confidence in your running will help you enjoy it more.
2. Timing. Pick a time of the day that isn't absolutely sweltering. I prefer the morning but the evenings are nice too. I know with the summer it is hard to convince yourself to exercise when there are more fun things you could be doing. If that is the case, the morning is probably the better time for you to go. Wake up, get it over with, and go on with your day!
3. Where do I run? If you go to Map My Run you can make your own routes or find those that others have made. This way you can plot exactly where you want to go, see exactly how long it is, and you are less likely to get lost. Change it up! If you do the same route each day it is likely you will get bored and lose interest. Start from your house one day but another day try starting from a coffee shop, school, or work to get a change of scenery. If it is too hot do not be afraid to run on the treadmill!
4. Sign up for a race. Once you feel good about your running find a local race to sign up for! It gives you something to train for and working towards a goal will motivate you. For me, I would rather have a training plan (easily found on Pinterest) to stick to than to try and run without one. Once you complete the race you will be so proud of yourself and more confident than you were before! Races are a fun way to get together with a group of people that enjoy the same things you do. Everyone is working hard and working together and the crowd that gathers to cheer will push you and keep you going!
5. Find a group to run with. Many cities will have local running groups that are always welcoming new members. Ask your local gym if they know of any groups or try searching for them online. It is always easier to make running a social event than a solo struggle. It is also fun to do races with friends. That way you are all excited about the same thing and can keep each other accountable!
6. Get a good playlist. A good playlist can go a long way while working out. Make an up-beat playlist that you can sing along to and soon you'll find yourself distracted and enjoying the music and not paying attention to how hard it is to keep yourself moving. Try Pandora, 8tracks, Songza, or Spotify for free music to listen to while you run!
7. Endorphins - You will feel SO MUCH BETTER after completing a run! Nobody ever went on a run, came home, and regretted it. Everyone has those bad days, and those are inevitable, but each bad day will better prepare you for the next one to come. You will be glad you went, happy it is over, and ready for the next good run. Plus... your dessert or beer will be that much more deserved after a nice run!