You probably gathered this fact from the name of my blog, I love running. But here’s the “truth bomb,” I wasn’t always a “runner.” I laced up my running shoes for my first race in 2010. And in the six plus years that followed, I’ve racked up 13 marathons and a bunch (I really couldn’t count) of half marathons, 5Ks, and 10Ks. The question I get asked most often is some variation of “I hate running, how do you love it?” The answer is simple. Running takes a whole lot of heart. It brings people together through sweat, tears, and love and being part of that community makes me thrive. And in the spirit of the Boston Marathon in just a couple short weeks, here are my tips on how to start loving running….and never look back.
Join a running club.
Why run solo when you could run together? Running clubs bring people together. And there’s a club for all types of runners! Social running clubs, speedy running clubs, beer-loving running clubs, you name it. I found that joining running clubs (yes, I belong to several) helped keep me accountable and pushed me to run faster. The people in your club are also a source of constant information and inspiration, not to mention a reason to wake up in the morning.
Sign up for a race.
I ran my first marathon after backpacking through Europe. I had signed up on a whim and figured it would be a good way to stay in shape while eating my way across the continent. I was right. Knowing that I had 26.2 miles in my near future kept me on the move, even while traveling! The same thing goes for shorter races. When you commit financially, you’re more likely to actually train. And when you actually train, race day will be 100 times better and more enjoyable.
One of my top tips for new runners is to ditch the treadmill and enjoy the great outdoors. When I trained while backpacking in Europe, I saw parts of cities I never would have seen with tour groups. The same thing goes for your hometown. Discover new parks, neighborhoods and explore by getting miles under your feet. By heading outside instead of the gym, you’ll learn to love (and maybe hate) different types of weather. It’s all part of the journey.
Find a great playlist (or podcast).
When you’re not running with your running club or with your running friends, some sweet jams or a great podcast can make a world of distance. You’ll keep yourself entertained while learning something new or listening to your favorite song. I always try to keep one earbud in and one out so I can stay alert and aware of traffic. Safety first!
One of the greatest things about running is that all you need is a pair of shoes to get started. With that said, there’s nothing like getting some extra motivation from a new pair of running shoes or tank top from your favorite brand. And beyond the satisfaction of new gear, you’ll discover that most running brands have their own virtual community you can tap into. I’ve met new running friends from across the country through social media just because we share a common love of the same running brand. Pretty cool!
Whether you’re trying to re-discover your love for running, or starting out for the first time, I hope these tips will inspire you to love the sport as much as I do!