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How to get back into running and actually enjoy it

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sun, February 10, 2019  /  05:21 am
How to get back into running and actually enjoy it

A lot of us can relate to the love-hate relationship we have with running. It’s a fairly physically demanding sport and is ever-so-easy to make excuses to avoid. (Shutterstock/areebarbar)

A lot of us can relate to the love-hate relationship we have with running. It’s a fairly physically demanding sport and is ever-so-easy to make excuses to avoid. Once you’ve broken out of your good running habits, it can be hard to find your motivation again with enthusiasm and enjoyment.

Check out Shape’s tips on rekindling your love for running.

Walk before you run

In other words, take small steps, especially if you just begin to run. It’s best to start slow in both pace and distance, and slowly work yourself up to it. Christy Vachal, run coach from the Mile High Run Club in New York City said to Shape that it is good to begin with the walk-run-walk method – running for two minutes, walking for one minute and repeating until you work your way up to 30 minutes. “Be realistic with your goals, but also challenge yourself to push outside of that comfort zone,” said Vachal.

Take it slowly

People often burn themselves out quickly when they kick their mileage up too drastically, which can be really deterring for runners. “The biggest mistake is trying to do too much, too soon – too fast a pace, too many miles, too intense,” Gordon Bakoulis, New York Road Runner editorial director and run coach, told Shape.

“This will not only quash your motivation, it will also greatly increase your risk of getting an injury, which, of course, will force you to take time off and start all over again once you recover.”

A useful running tip is the “talk test” – you should be able to have a conversation while you’re running, and if you can’t, slow down. In doing this, you should be able to build up your speed at the right pace for your body.

Stay on track with a plan

Keep on track by following a training plan, even if you’re not signed up for a race. “I tell my runners that training plans are used as a guideline, not an ultimatum. Push to hit each mark, but know life can get in the way, so don’t beat yourself up over missing a few runs, especially if you’re a beginner,” said Vachal.

Don’t give up!

Bakoulis said that the most powerful and motivating thing you can do when you’re starting out is to surround yourself with positivity.

“Love yourself for what you are doing – even if you haven’t taken a single step. It’s very hard to even shift your mindset from sedentary person to aspiring runner, so give yourself credit for making that mental shift.”

Small achievements will eventually end up greatly rewarding.

Run with a buddy

A run buddy is a great way to motivate you to run, especially on the days you are struggling to find the drive to get up. If you have something to look forward to, like a coffee or a beer with your running buddy afterward, you’ll feel better about going for a run. It’s a good way to socialize, smash goals and have someone to hold you accountable for your running mileage.

Bear in mind that the pros struggle too

It’s okay and completely normal to feel unmotivated about your running progress at times.

“We all struggle with motivation. No one – not even Olympic champions and world record-holders – feels motivated for every single run,” said Bakoulis. “Reminding myself of that and giving myself permission to feel unmotivated sometimes does the trick to get me out the door.”

Read also: Six tips to keep you running on the treadmill

Think forward

Try to remind yourself of how good going for a run makes you feel, and it may help you find the motivation to get started. “I ask myself, ‘how will you feel at bedtime tonight if you don’t run today,” said Bakoulis. “The answer is, ‘I’ll feel like I should have run.’ When I do, I make sure to give myself a little pat on the back at bedtime, because I did find that motivation.”

Run a diary

Feeling good after a run? Write it down!

Vachal keeps a journal tracking how her runs went and how she felt afterward. “Going back to those written notes and reminding yourself of that feeling can be the push you need to get out the door,” she said.

It’s a good idea to jot down your goals in your diary, too. Reading through your previous positive experiences and goals can help you to chase them when you’re feeling not-so-in-the-mood.

Yes, we can run

Not every run is going to be the same – some will have you feeling much more challenged than others. However, it is important to remember Vachal’s favorite mantra: “You can do hard things.”

“We are all stronger than we think and just sticking to positive thoughts and pushing out negative energy can make you go that extra half-mile, and leave you feeling strong and empowered,” she said.

Keep running and enjoy the benefit in the long run

One of the most important things you need to remember is that you will not see results overnight. Don’t feel disheartened if you are a little late at hitting your goal, or your legs aren’t as toned as you would’ve expected them to be.

“You have to respect the process,” said Vachal. “Remember you don’t have to be a fast runner or run multiple marathons a year to consider yourself a ‘runner,’ so don’t compare yourself to others. Just focus on how running can improve your happiness.”

Count on a podcast

Podcasts are a great way to take your mind off the aches, pains and fantasies of finishing a run. Check out what’s trending, and pick up what you like to distract you from the pain. Vachal recommends true crime podcasts to keep her attention on the mystery. Just watch out for the road!

Sharing is caring

Before and after shots on social media? We say: why not?

Vachal suggests to take a pre-sweat pic and a (possibly sweaty but glowing) post-run selfie, and upload them to social media. Positive feedback will surely boost your confidence, but what’s more positive is you could also inspire others to slip into the running shoes and log some miles.

Give yourself a break

Listening to your body is the key to success. When you feel particularly tired, it is possible that you’re overtraining and your body needs to recharge. Taking a break for a day or two might make you miss running and help you gain back motivation. (geo/mut)