We all know the type; that impossibly perky runner, who seems to effortlessly cruise along the pavement, hardly breaking a sweat. They just LOVE running — and they're doing it because it's fun! But they must be delusional, right? Because running is definitely not fun; it’s sweaty, it’s repetitive, and it hurts.
Not that long ago, I was a total cardio hater. I jumped on the treadmill in college because it seemed like the easiest (and least expensive) way to combat that Freshman Fifteen. Those painful runs in my school’s tiny basement gym were a struggle, and I felt defeated every time I stepped off the treadmill. Running was the worst.
But fear not! Your relationship with running doesn’t have to be toxic. It took some soul searching, but I’m here to tell you: I love running and so can you. (And I'm not delusional, promise!)
Whether you’re just starting out, or trying to find joy in the daily grind of running, here’s my best piece of advice: slow down. Running too fast is one of the most common mistakes that runners make, rookies and veterans alike. There is no rule that says you have to be fast to call yourself a runner, so run slow and take as many walk breaks as you like. It’s still running if you stop and smell the roses, and it’s a lot more fun if you don’t feel like you’re dying the whole time.
Oh, the places you’ll go!
The biggest turning point in my love affair with running came when I discovered trail running. The thrill of seeing the amazing places my own two feet can take me is addictive — places I’d never be able to reach if I didn’t put in the work of training each week. Places many people may never get to see. If the wilderness isn't your jam, the same idea applies to road running. Try out new routes. Tour new cities. Running is only monotonous if you let it be, so get out there and explore!
Embrace the bad days
All runners have bad days. Sometimes you just don’t want to get out there. That’s okay! There’s value both in taking a day off, and in having a run that falls flat. These days are not failures, they are just a part of the process. It doesn’t do anyone any good to dwell on them, so get through it and move on.
Know when to try something else
Running isn't the be-all and end-all of exercise. If you've given running the old college try and still dread the idea of lacing up your sneakers, it's probably time to move on. Find something that gets your body moving and gets you excited, be it swimming, dancing, walking, soccer, what have you. Your body will thank you.