When it comes to exercise, I’ve always been a cardio gal…but that doesn’t mean I was always a runner. Running was fun for quick jaunts, but the idea of going further than a mile was daunting. But then I started dating my hunka hunka burnin love fiancé and was jealous he could claim bragging rights to having completed two half marathons. In an effort to be as cool as him (though I have zero intention of running a half), I decided to take up running as well.
Since I’ve always been more into cardio, it wasn’t the absolute hardest thing to pick up, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. I found myself stalling several times but feel like I can now call myself an actual runner. But don’t be fooled – I used plenty of tricks to get myself to that point:
- Sign Up for a Race: Any race!
- Yes, I was jealous of Albert, but the thing that really flipped the switch and made me decide to start running was the Color Run. I saw pictures of friends covered in colorful paint and thought it looked like so much FUN. The Color Run is just a lil 5K – a distance people say “anyone” can do that “doesn’t require any training.” Well since I’d never run more than 1.5 miles consecutively, I decided to train so that I could run the 3.1 miles in a 5K. The crazy July heat was miserable, but I did it. There are tons of zany runs (midnight New Years Eve runs, zombie runs, hot chocolate runs, Thanksgiving day Turkey Trots, and more). It allows you to have fun with the whole being healthy process, which is definitely a nice incentive.
- Though most people just have fun with the Color Run, I treated it as a true race – signing up made me accountable. Later, when my running slowed, I signed up for another race to have something to look forward to. Also, I thrive on competition. A race gives me the chance mentally compete with the stranger running next to me as well as against my own time.
- Eat Something: I can get discouraged after a bad run, which I now know most often happens when I haven’t eaten properly. Eating a little something about an hour before running gives you a legit energy boost. My favorite snackies include:
- Hard Boiled Egg
- Nuts (I love that Trader Joe’s sells a bag of mini bags of pre-portioned cashews.)
- Kind Bar (I ate one of these before the Turkey Trot and had my best time yet! I love the ones with fun spices like dark chocolate chili almond)
- PB&J Bar (I’m really digging this soft oat bar from Trader Joe’s and it’s balanced peanut butter flavor. I think this is what Nutrigrain bars WANTED to be. Note: I really dislike Nutrigrain bars but LOVE these.)
- Download Good Apps
- Couch to 5K/Couch to 10K: I found these training programs helpful. They teach interval training so you can go from zero physical activity to race-ready in a matter of weeks.
- Map My Run: I’m the rare person who doesn’t mind running on a treadmill because it helps me push myself. If it says I’ve gone 2.5 miles I’ll say to myself “just keep going til you hit 2.75” and then when I get there I say “oh that was easier than you thought; push it to 3 miles,” and so on. I like having that same motivation when I’m running outside. An app like Map My Run allows me to see how far I’ve gone or how long I’ve been running so I can push myself further. I also love that it hollers at me every time I complete a mile, letting me know my pace. I love looking back at the crazy route I ran and storing my runs so I can keep up with my progress.
- Buy New Running Clothes: A new running outfit just puts me in a good mood. I always want to show off new running gear, and I’d feel like too much of a faker to post a selfie if I didn’t actually run.
- Be Artistic: Sometimes I get myself to run by remembering it will provide a good opportunity to snap a photo. Over the summer I tried a new route to mix things up and stumbled upon a park I never knew existed. It was so beautiful that I took a few pictures, sharing one on Instagram. It made me want to go for a run the following weekend, hoping I could discover more unexpected beauty in nature. Whether it’s a shameless selfie at the gym or the landscape from an outdoor run, knowing I can capture (and share over social media like our obsessed culture loves to do) a nice photo will sometimes give me the extra push to get out of the house.
- Listen to Great Stuff
- Rock My Run: This app has great running mixes. Like if you had a dj booth following you around on your run. If you’re willing to pay for the app, they’ll speed up the songs to match your desired BPM. That way, you can still listen to the songs you like (which are often 140 BPMs) at a pace conducive to running (more like 165 BPMs).
- Podcasts: Listening to a podcast is like being part of a great conversation without having to speak, which is good because I’d be too out of breath to talk while running. An episode of Hidden Brain is usually perfect for a 3 miler at an 8:45 min pace
- Spotify Running: Similar to Rock My Run because we all like having options. This one is nice because there’s a wider range of songs.