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How to love running: 5 ways this fitness instructor went from hate running to love

It’s not just that I “didn’t like” running when I was a kid. I hated. I hated it, even.

Running was uncomfortable, it was hard for me, it hurt, and I wasn’t naturally good at it. And not being good at it meant that was stressing me out too. When I was in college, part of our physical education grades were based on the Presidential Fitness Test, a test that included push-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, sit-and-reach, a shuttle run, and —The greatest enemy of all my childhood, the timed mile.

In my school, we got a certain number of points for our marks for our results on these different tests. For this girl type A, straight, if I have a B, it’ll destroy my life that was too not naturally athletic, it was the most overwhelming experience each time we had to. The day of the tests brought me so a lot of anxiety, most of it due to the dreaded timed kilometer. I couldn’t run a mile without walking, so my time put me in the point category of a C at best.

So what did I do? Do you train really hard and have a moment of remarkable accomplishment when I ran it all, scored that A, fell in love with running and never looked back? Not quite, or, to put it better, absolutely not. I wrote additional credit reports to make up for points that I wasn’t getting on test day. Yeah, that’s right. Your daughter wrote articles over 20 pages long to make up for her hatred and lack of success in running the mile.

So yeah, I hated running. And, to be fair, I’m sure running hated me too.

This story is one of the most iconic ironies of my life as I love functioning. Now please don’t interpret this love as some sort of ultramarathoner or frequent 5K / 10K runner, or even a participant in weekly group races. I don’t do any of that. I am not a running expert or trainer. This love that I have for running is deeply personal. Running has become part of my therapy and part of what brings me back to myself when the world (or my world) feels overwhelming or scattered.

Running has become a part of my life where I showed myself, my emotions, my moods, my stress, my celebrations, my world.

I’m saying all of this because maybe you hated running too. Maybe you still hate him. And maybe, just maybe, you want to get to a place where you tolerate it, love it, or (gasp!) Love it. I also know that spring has a way of attracting us to the outdoors, maybe even more this year. As we begin to emerge from the tough times of 40s, changing our monotonous routines is probably even more appealing.

I thought I would give you some tips to start feeling better running (and maybe even how to enjoy running, eventually). These are all things that I have experienced since I started running for fun. But if this whole idea of ​​not hating running still seems quite impossible to you, I totally understand that too. You can apply these tips to walking or any other type of movement you’ve just started or come back to after a while.

1. Edit the metrics (or remove them completely).

One thing that changed the race for me is the simple fact that I am no longer rated on it. Nothing changes your mindset about something more than releasing all the pressure. No one other than me was looking at my pace, distance, heart rate, time I started or finished, terrain, altitude, or any other minor or major detail. It all depended on me. I was only responsible to myself.

This is why it can be so useful to fine tune the metrics available to you. If there’s one metric that’s stressing you out, be it pace, distance, heart rate, or any of the others that all smartwatches track, forget about it. As I mentioned, for me it was originally the pace, the infamous timed mile. So I don’t really pay attention to it.

When I first started running, I was running without a watch. It was also pre-smartphones, watches, etc., so I just picked a route and hiked it. Eventually I got to a point where I wanted to see if I could run faster, but it took a while. These days I run with gadgets and can see my pace on each one, but I generally care more about my overall trail time or mileage than pace. Every now and then I try to pick up my pace on certain routes, but I have to be very careful not to get too engrossed in these steps, as then I lose some of the mental and emotional release that I seek while running. in the first place.

My advice to those who are just starting out: Ignore actions that cause any sort of anxiety or make you feel inadequate for some reason. Even if that means you personalize your watch face so that you can’t see the measurements that stress you out or leave the watch at home. It is not worth it, especially at the beginning. Drop it all.

2. Literally do it one step at a time.

When I say take one step at a time, I mean it. If you’ve never run before, running a mile, or jogging for 10 minutes, or going around the block might seem strenuous enough that you either push it off another day or be completely turned off. Find something that is mentally and physically feasible.

For example, try running for a minute and then walking. Coming back from an injury, I had to start by running for a minute and then walking for a few minutes. Finding something doable is crucial for you to be confident in your abilities. Then you might spend 10 seconds or 30 seconds or an extra minute running. Your progress will depend on how your body is feeling.

Note that I am not giving you a running program here. I give you some suggestions for breaking down mental and emotional barriers. You can worry about the actual programming later. A. Stage. TO. A. Time.

3. Choose an environment that appeals to you.

This suggestion has become more and more important to me over the years, whether you want to learn to love running or just enjoy it a bit. Back when I first started running, I didn’t want to run on a track – it was a trigger that brought me back to college, and I didn’t see any fun in it. To this day, I have a hard time running on a track.

Instead, I choose to run in visually stimulating places. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that back in the days when I wasn’t injured, I was often in the hills, on bridges or at the beach. These places have become sacred to me. Just thinking about them puts me in a different mental and emotional space. There is beauty all around, nature, life and less people and cars. I want these places just as much as I want the runner’s high. Running around my neighborhood doesn’t quite do the same for me, but the thought of going to one of my favorite places turns me on.

Here’s another secret: I initially chose hills and stairs as my favorite terrain because I knew my mileage would be inherently slower. It was another way for me to take the time factor out. There was no way I could run a “good” mile time conventionally if I was going up and down stairs or hills. Sneaky, I know. It is also enough to run a hill to realize that there are many metaphorical lessons that can be learned from reaching the top of a hill just to do it over and over again.

4. Obtain a soundtrack.

Movement and music are intrinsically linked in my universe. I’ve been a hip-hop fan for as long as I can remember. Nothing makes me climb better than a little Busta Rhymes. I’m very determined about my playlists, but know that doesn’t mean your soundtrack has to be music. Over the past few years, I have also grown to enjoy podcasts and audiobooks while running.

Silence is also an amazing soundtrack, especially if the sounds around you are appealing (or if it’s not safe for you to listen to anything while you run). The point here is to be intentional and to let the sounds you hear be ear candy, not just noise. The most pleasurable experience is that of the whole body; think through all of your senses.

5. Rule out anything that might interfere with your experience.

Check the weather, dress appropriately, put on your shoes before you run, put your phone on Do Not Disturb, and / or take care of any other little things that can get awkward or more boring while you’re away. Make sure you refuel well beforehand so you don’t feel hungry or tired during (and when you’re done too, so you don’t feel lousy afterwards). Give yourself the best chance to really enjoy your experience. And let it be a real experience.

Whether you’re ready to slip on and run for 60 seconds now, or you’re still not convinced, you’re good to go. Like I said, these things can all be applied to other forms of movement and, to be honest, many areas of life. See you where you are. Start there. Find ways to make it doable for you, introduce yourself to do it, then keep introducing yourself. You might just learn to love what you never thought you could.


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