first off – i’m not a runner. i hate it. running sucks for me. i envy those people who “enjoy” running and pass me about a million times at the park. but i’m challenging myself to run this summer three to five times a week for at least thirty minutes. i’ve done it before and got decent at it at one point. but i am absolutely no expert. and i don’t claim to be. i don’t know anything about special socks or special shoes or special strides. i just run. slowly, but i run.
i’ve run before, but put it on the back burner last summer. so i started off this summer with the couch to 5k program and i’m currently on week four. if this makes sense…it’s getting easier, but definitely not easy! i’m enjoying my time in the park in the mornings though. it is a good time for me to think. over these past few weeks, i’ve figured out a couple of things to help me make running suck less.
1. music – i have to have my tunes. depending on my mood, i usually pick an artist for the run and shuffle. this week, i’ve been listening to ed sheeran’s new album. last week, it was iggy azalea and miranda lambert. i’m all over the place, but i have to have good music.
2. intervals – especially with me just starting out, i have to do intervals of running and walking. the app that i use does everything for me. it vibrates my phone and tells me when to start running/walking. eventually, i want to get to the point when i can do sprints/jogs/walks.
3. run outside – i used to be a hamster on a treadmill like the rest of those girls in the gym. it’s so boring. and there’s research out there that says running outside does more for you because of the instability of the ground. it makes your body work harder. i just like the fresh air and sun.
4. get a good app to start – i use this app. it’s essential to me. if left to my own devices, i know i would walk more than i should.
5. speed – running faster or slower might help. at the end of my run, i run faster. i’m not exactly sure why. maybe because i know that it’s almost over or because i’m more warmed up.
6. warm up – a quick five minute warmup is a good thing. you can do a five minute walk or some dynamic stretching. whatever works for you. it gets your body moving without putting too much stress on it. i’ve tried to skip it before and it only makes things worse later on.
7. increase the distance – on days that i don’t feel like running too much, i will increase my distance and decrease my speed. in most cases, if you’re pushing yourself and walking fast, it is just as good as running. i don’t do it too often, but sometimes a long brisk walk is just what i need.
8. don’t push too hard too soon. – know your limits and listen to your body. if something hurts and you know you don’t need to push it, don’t. an injury can set you back weeks or even months. trust me on that one. just take a step back and then push when you feel comfortable. that being said, don’t wimp out and call it “listening to your body”. you can do it!
9. cool down – this is super important. a good slower cool down and stretch are vital. this will help your body adjust and begin the recovery process.
10. recovery – you can’t push yourself and run every day. i’ve definitely learned to mix it up with some different workouts (kickboxing, barre, zumba, strength training, etc.) and incorporate rest days. your muscles and the rest of your body need the rest in order build back up for your next go. if you don’t give yourself time (again, i’m speaking from experience), you’ll get an injury. so don’t see it as weakness. see it as giving your body time to heal and become even better.
**if you have some useful tips for a new runner, click on the little speech bubble at the top of the post and leave me a comment! they would be greatly appreciated.**
this new video from jessica smith about running is interesting too…