Welcome to this week’s post.
As many of you may have noticed, I’ve started running. And not just for giggles, actual (half) marathon training.
I’ve always hated running. More than any other form of physical activity. I love competition and group class settings so running around a track for endless hours by myself never really appealed to me. I also worried about getting thunderous thighs because anytime I’ve tried in the past, my pants stopped fitting and not in the good way.
Well, friends, something changed. I decided to set an actual, feasible goal and it completely changed my mindset. And this is where the real fun begins.
Set a Goal
Seems obvious, right? Then why did it take me so long to figure out? Setting a goal has given me motive to actually stick with running and in turn, forced me to run longer distances and now my body well and truly craves the miles.
And don’t just set any goal, set one with a specific date and something you can’t back out of. Wether it’s a marathon or joining a running club, giving yourself less wiggle room will force you to stick with it.
Literally. Don’t expect to run 5 continuos miles your first time; it took me a month to comfortably run this distance. I started with intervals of 1 minute of running and 1 minute of walking and slowly increased. But do what works for you! Just start slow and work your way up to a constant running pace. This will help prevent injuries and allow you to recover faster.
Change Your Scenery
One can only run the track for so long. I personally love the track because it’s easy on my joints but I totally understand that it gets boring after a while. Find a park in your area where you can run for a change of scenery. And look up areas within close proximity to your town/city. Take a little road trip and explore new areas. This also takes you away from running on a zero incline terrain and throws some hills into the mix which leads us to the next point of…
Mixing It Up
Make sure you’re not just running the same route, distance or pace every day. It’s not only boring, but also prevents you from improving. Make sure you’re mixing in hills and sprints. You can also use the interval method I mentioned earlier, but just change up the pace (i.e.: 1 minute 7mph and 1 minute 6 mph). Nike has a great marathon training program that helps you build endurance, speed and strength.
And speaking of, consider adding strength training to your routine. There’s tons of research done on this but basically it helps build muscle strength (obviously) which leads to better endurance and a decrease in the rate of muscle fatigue. I’ve found that boxing at least once a week has has increased my endurance and gives me a good balance of cardio and body weight training.
Keep It Interesting
Find a playlist that you really enjoy listening to and something that you can keep a running tempo with. This has helped me pace myself on days where I’m running a shorter distance. But the nerdy side of me absolutely lives for audiobooks. Seriously. They really help take my mind off the task at hand and I’m not listening to the same thing over and over everyday. Give it a try!
Carb lovers rejoice! Properly fueling your body makes for a seriously more enjoyable run. I used to run on empty and avoid carbs like the plague and I never ever saw results. Eating whole grains a few hours before a long run and fueling during your run will help exponentially. It’s all about finding the right timing for you. I generally will eat a huge bowl of cereal or have a couple pieces of toast with peanut butter 1.5- 2 hours before a run and I’ll have a banana about 30 minutes before I head out.
Hell yeah. Fueling during a long run is equally as important and fueling before and there’s nothing that motivates me more than running for candy. You can buy gel packs and gummies from running stores or online but more often than not, you’re paying more money for the same thing as you’d find in a handful of Starburst.
I used this method when I studied for tests in university- read a chapter, rewarded myself. Same concept here. I run a mile, and I eat a starburst. It’s really a win win.
Do as I say, not as I do. I really need to improve in this area but I’ve noticed that when I do stretch after runs, I feel significantly better. And obviously the more you do it, the better you get at it. It just really hurts and I’m lazy. I know, weird thing to be lazy about. Stretching for even 5 minutes after a run has helped me dramatically with decreasing muscle soreness. Taking epsom salt baths after long runs or when you’re first starting out helps immensely as well.
Give It Time
It really sucks at the beginning. Really bad. But learn your personal limits and don’t exceed those limits in a dangerous manner. Not only will you hate running even more, you’ll probably hurt yourself. Take your time and give it a solid 3 weeks of diligent effort. If you really don’t like it, then don’t it! Not everyone is made for it and that’s okay, there are plenty of other activities you can do. I’ve done the Kayla Itsine’s BBG program, the Insanity program, I boxed avidly and did Pure Barre. Those things are awesome, but haven’t worked the way running has, but maybe one of those is your golden ticket. Experiment and always try to have fun doing what you’re doing. I promise it’ll be worth it.
Thanks for taking the time to read through this post! I know it’s a lot and there’s still so much I didn’t cover but if you have any questions, you can leave a comment here, on my Instagram post or send me an email. I’m not an expert but being new to it myself, I’ve definitely learned a few things and I’m more than happy to pass on my (limited) knowledge to you.