I am admittedly not a huge fan of running. Or maybe I should say I wasn't a huge fan of running. It's growing on me, s-l-o-w-l-y. There are a few things I've tried to do to enjoy myself while getting into this whole running thing. So, I figure this is a fitting subject to discuss.
*I am by no means an expert. Heck, I've barely been running for more weeks than I have fingers on my hand. But this is what's worked for me. Take it as you will.*
Yes, I know every "Make Running More Enjoyable" list in the world probably suggests you try this. Whatever. There are a lot of different ways to go about this one. Some websites have "podcasts" you can down load specifically for running. They can be specific to the beats per minute, because apparently that helps you run a certain speed. With the Couch to 5k program I did, there are "podcasts" that will change the song, or make a beep, when you are supposed to switch your intervals.
Me? Well, that's all way too technical for the-girl-who-isn't-a-runner-but-sometimes-runs. I've loaded up my ipod with a variety of tunes that just make me want to move. I suggest songs you really like, but don't necessarily get to listen to all the time. In my house, we listen to mostly country music, so on my running mix I throw on things I don't hear everyday, that way, it's like a treat getting to listen to them. And I use new music as a reward for sticking with it. It's a cheap, easy way to reward yourself, and give yourself motivation to keep going. With Kevin Rudolf screaming "I Made It" in my ear, or Fort Minor chanting This is ten percent luck, twenty percent skill, Fifteen percent concentrated power of will, Five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain, And a hundred percent reason to remember the name!, it's pretty hard to let myself stop.
Sneaks, Clothes, and Accessories.
So frankly, there's nothing that makes it more difficult to go run than feeling like I'm missing something, that I'm not properly equipped. I used to work at a place called Sportshoe Center. And I'm pretty sure you can guess what we sold. I learned the value of wearing the proper footwear for a variety of activities. It really is one of the best things you can do for yourself. The right shoes go a loooong way. So, after I had several weeks under my belt and knew I would stick with it, (and happened to lose my current running shoes on vacation...) I rewarded myself with a pair of these puppies:
Mizuno Women's Wave Rider 13s. Size 10. (Yes, I have giant feet.)
I've been an Asics girl since my time at Sportshoe, but it felt like it was time for a change. And maybe someday I'll go back. But not for a while. I've been running in these for about two weeks, and so far, I love them and have literally no complaints. No wait, I have one. One shoe lace is like, way longer than the other. I have to double knot it so it doesn't tickle my other leg. But that's it.
Other fun things for your feet? SOCKS! And yea, I know, there's expensive technical running socks. And I have them (past employer reference again). But seriously, I found the FUNNEST socks ever at Olympia Sports. Fluorescent greens, yellows, blues, purples, oranges - even with argyle! So yea, they make me happy and want to run.
And then of course there's all the cute running clothes. Like my obsession with running tights - pants and capris. The Oh-So-Comfy tech shirts. And even cute little running shorts... that I've bought, but not yet worn. My go-to company is adidas, I can't help but want to buy every single thing they make. Champion is a cheaper alternative. I stay away from Nike for personal (weird) reasons.
Have something you're aiming for. Especially when you first start. If I didn't have a 5k in mind that I wanted to run, I doubt I would have stuck with it. Races are fun, and not nearly as scary as they seem. Even if you're in the back of the pack. I won't say everyone is nice and that they all cheer for you at the end - because that doesn't always happen. But it's incredibly satisfying to be able to say "Oh yea, I ran a race yesterday." So, with that in mind, I really need to find myself another race soon....
I know, I know, you're probably like, "SERIOUSLY S?! This is all the same crap everyone feeds me about running." But I promise, having someone to run with, will get you to do it. Case in point: I am not a morning person. For the last three weeks I have met my neighbor at the end of my drive way between 5:30am and 5:45am, 3 days a week. And we've run. And walk. And run again. It's awesome. And there's no way I would be getting up at that hour if she wouldn't be left in my driveway.
So really, find a buddy. And it's not as hard and daunting as you think. There's the "grown up" ways of doing it - finding local running clubs, etc. You can ask friends you know who run. Even if you think they're way faster than you, a day or two a week of a slower run won't kill them, and they might just enjoy the company. Or, you can do what I did. The desperate move. Post on your Facebook status (or whatever other social network you use) that you are looking for a workout buddy (mine specified morning). In less than two hours, I had a bright and early date with my neighbor for a morning run the next day. If you don't have anyone near you that would be up for it, even just text messages or phone calls in the morning to get you up from a friend or family member who's already up at that hour, will help you be accountable.
And Mix It Up.
I don't just run when I run. I walk too. I call them my intervals. They make time go by faster, and help me go farther.
Rain. Oh my, running in the rain my just be one of my favorite things these days. Give me a hat and some refreshing ran coming down, and I can go like, twice as far.
Run for time, not distance or speed. At least at first. Best advice I read when starting the Couch to 5k program. Trust me on this one.
And when you need to, take a break. Don't push it so hard that you're miserable. Cause duh, then you won't go back out and do it again. And that pretty much defeats the entire purpose.
There you have it. A few of the ways I try to enjoy running. I know it's good for me, I've seen a difference in my energy and my body in just the few weeks I've been doing it, and it's something I can do almost anywhere. I've read that it can take a while to truly enjoy it (like a year or two, ugh), but this is a start.
Now if only I could find a way to make grad school half as fun...