Wednesday, August 29, 2012

FIVE TIPS TO FALL IN LOVE WITH RUNNING

Yes, it is true.  YOU can fall in Love with running too. Yes, you.

It occurred to me today that my blog, Running For Dummies, has yet to give any advice for new runners.  I am always quick to point out my blog name is tongue-in-cheek. This blog is not intended to be an instruction manual for runners.  I'm the dummy here, sharing my growth experiences along the way.  I have such a passion for running and I wanted to share with you how I got there, so maybe you can fall in love too.




Here are my five tips to fall in love with running.

1. Step out of your comfort zone. 
The one thing I always hear from my friends who don't run is, "I can't run, I hate running." 
Lets first talk about why you might hate a certain exercise.  I used to hate planks. When I was in boot camp we did a one minute plank at the end of each session. If one person in the group dropped before a minute, the whole group had to do it again!  I would stress-out over those planks. I would spend the entire one hour boot camp class thinking about and dreading that one minute at the end. Why did I hate it? Because it was hard! Why was it hard? Because I wasn't good at them. Why wasn't I good at them? Because I hardly ever did them!  So I started doing one plank a day, every day, with no time requirements. I would just hold as long as I could.  Sometimes back in boot camp I would struggle to hold it for that one minute. After doing a plank every day over a period of a six months, my plank record is 7:30 continuous minutes! You can read how I did it here.  Do I hate planks now? No. Why not? Because I can rock a plank!  Is it still hard? Yes, sometimes. But do I love it? Yes!

The moral of the story is that if you want to love to run, you have to do it.  You have to fight through the uncomfortable feelings in the beginning. You have to accept the fact that it will be difficult at first. If you decide not to do something because you are not good at it (yet), you are missing out on the opportunity to grow.  You don't have to be good at it, you just have to do it consistently.  You will get better, it will get easier. I promise.


2. Go Slow, Be Patient.
The biggest mistake I made as new runner all those years ago is that I started off too fast. I would head out at a pace that is too fast to sustain and then get frustrated and ready to give up before I reached the end of the block. Start off slow. Go even slower than you think you can. Give your body time to adapt to this new exercise. You can worry about speed later, right now work on endurance. Be patient. It will take time, but it will be worth it.


3. Do Run/Walk Intervals.
There is no shame in walking. The ultimate goal may be to run continuously without walk breaks, but in order to get there, you have to build up to it. Start your run at a slow pace and maintain it as long as you can.  When you feel that you need to walk to recover your breath, take a walk break but keep moving forward.  As soon as your breath is recovered, pick back up into a jog again.  This is where it is important to be honest with yourself.  Only walk when you need a breather and start running again immediately when you catch your breath.  Don't stop and walk if your breathing is fine, just because it may be a place on your route where you usually stop and walk.  Don't walk a moment longer than you need to, because this is where the magic happens.  You will find that over time that your running intervals will get longer and your walk breaks will get shorter.  Before you know it, you won't need to take walk breaks at all.


4. Avoid Treadmills (at first).
I am not denying that treadmills have their place in training. My treadmill runs were instrumental in my speed work training. Treadmills can be beneficial in so many ways.  They allow you to have strict control over your pace and time, they provide shelter from the weather and a safe environment to run.  However, right now we are trying to fall in love with running.  I don't think anyone ever fell in love with running on the dreadmill treadmill.  When someone tells me that they hate running, but they only tried to run on the treadmill at the gym, I say D'uh!  Almost everyone hates the treadmill.  I love to run with a passion, but even I dread the treadmill.  It can be boring and monotonous and that clock staring you in the face can play major tricks on your mind. Running is a mental game as much (or more than) a physical one.   I suggest starting your love affair by running in the fresh open air.  If you are stuck on a treadmill for now, check out this post on how to make your treadmill runs not suck.



5. Buy Good Shoes.
When I first started running and some of my toenails fell off, someone finally enlightened me that I should be buying my running shoes at least a half size bigger than my street shoes. Go to a running store, have them fit you for a pair of good quality running shoes. If you are running in poor quality shoes that are too small and not the proper fit, you are needlessly making it harder on yourself.  The great thing about running is that it is free. You don't need a gym membership or expensive equipment, you just need to invest in a good pair of shoes.  If you are not sure what that means, check out this post about how to buy the proper running shoes.



Do you have a love affair with running? What tips to do you have for new runners?  Let me know how you are learning to fall in love with running.  

Keep Running,

Lea

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22 comments :

  1. I def have a love affair with the nature of running outdoors! The fresh air and endorphins are mysrig! Hahaha. Your tips are great!

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  2. I LOVE LOVE this post!! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  3. I'm learning to love it too. I was a running hater, but the more I do it, the more I love it. Thanks for your tips :)

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  4. I absolutely love this post!! Great tips, especially about getting good shoes. That's what made all the difference for me!

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  5. Awe...great post! I used to "hate to run" too but now it's my #1 love!

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  6. Amazing post, I definitely can relate to the slowing down part. I still have days like that! Still fighting past those walk /run intervals but I'm getting better even if it is slower than what I was hoping for.

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  7. My training tends to focus on interval training in the form of high intensity sprints for 100m. I slowly working on breaking Bolt's 9.69 time!

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  8. Great advice. Too often people go too far too fast and burnout on running. I agree wholeheartedly with your list.

    One to add? Find a running buddy. Some of the best conversations happen on a run!

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    1. I agree! A running partner sure takes your mind off the running part! :)

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  9. I think this is SUCH good advice, especially for new runners. We all make mistakes but some of this, had I known in the beginning, would have saved me a lot of frustration. So even those of us here who may have this knowledge can remember to pass it on. :)

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  10. Awesome post!
    I think another thing to remember...
    Don't compare yourself to other runners!
    I just started running in May, and I have a friend who has been running much longer. She was a bit discouraged by my times. Well, I am 5'10" and made it through US Navy bootcamp by walking! LOL (I am a former HATER of all things running!)I can out walk about anybody! LOL...thank you long legs!
    So just 'do you' when you run!

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  11. I actually started on the treadmill - I needed to feel the little milestones like seeing that I just ran for a half mile without stopping. It's hard to gauge that outside. However, once I started going over a mile, it just goes by so much more quickly and so much easier outside where you can adjust your gait based on how you feel!

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  12. I agree with the advise to not try out running on a treadmill! In order for me to try running I got the Couch to 5k on my phone and I tried it on the treadmill because I lived in AZ and it was summer, there was no way I was going to try running outside! I barely got through week 1 before I stopped because I did not like the treadmill. Now I have recently moved to Colorado and picked up my running again but outdoors. Despite the fact that my lungs hate me for the lack of oxygen up here I'm really liking the idea of running now and can't wait to go out again.

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  13. These are some great tips, all very true! For me running is all mental. My mind will give up way before my body so I push hard & always try to run with a partner!

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  14. Leslie St. Pierre LeeDecember 26, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Awesome tips!!! New to running and trying to love it. After reading this I will slow it down for awhile. Thanks for the tips.

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  15. Awesome. I want to love it so bad. Working on it...

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  16. I'm with BJA that I don't mind the treadmill when I started and each time I go back to running. It keeps me motivated and I use the distance or time as incentive. Plus I'm terrified of falling off so it keeps me moving!

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  17. WOW! I know so many girls who NEED TO READ THIS!!

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  18. Find music with a good beat and keep your feet pounding to the beat. I started by convincing myself to keep in time with the music, or just finish this last song, etc.!

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  19. I too am learning to love to run :) When I'm not feeling it a certain day, one thing that helps me is that I skip my planned workout/route and just go out for a fun run on streets I've never been on. The best is when I get lost and have to figure my way back home. This tends to keep me a little more motivated to do something I honestly still kinda hate :P and a bonus you get to know your neighborhood pretty well (i just moved)

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  20. Any tips on breathing - I have a terrible shallow breathing habit and it is holding my running back. I just can't get those big lung fulls of air in as I feel I am running out of oxygen but by not doing this I do run out of oxygen!

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