Often people tell me they hate running. Or, they tell me they aren’t good at it. Let’s face it - the real reason people don’t like running is that they are uncomfortable when they run. I say, no sh*t you are uncomfortable when you run. Most of us are. The fact is - running is tough. That is why if you listen to people around you who are running they are breathing hard and groaning and sometimes cussing.
Just because running’s uncomfortable, however, doesn't mean you shouldn’t do it. It just means maybe you need to learn some tips regarding how to decrease discomfort and increase satisfaction.
1. Remember you are not alone. 4 out of 5 people despise running. They do it simply because they think they should and it burns 4,000 calories an hour (well more like 600, but you get the point). The key is to not think about how much you hate running and why you don’t want to do it. Just shut up and run. You will be happy you did.
2. Start small. I used to hate running more than you do. How did I go from that to running marathons and
kind ofenjoying it? Baby steps. The reason I hated running was that I would go out and run as far and as fast as I could with no respect for warming up, starting small and pacing myself. That meant that during every run I got cramps and piercing side stiches. I wanted throw up and crap myself. I felt like an out of shape loser. Not much fun. Once I learned to slow down and to progress slowly and responsibly, running became not all that miserable. In fact I rather liked it.
3. Expect it to be hard. When people run and it gets uncomfortable, they think it’s wrong. They think no one else feels like they do. Believe me, running is hard for us all. Instead of judging yourself for the fact that you are out of breath and challenged, embrace the suck and push through (you do need to learn, however, how to run the right pace and distances for yourself to avoid over training and injury. Some good tips here).
4. Be picky. Don’t run in the ugliest part of town past the garbage dump and the pawn shops. Pick a spot that offers scenery that at least slightly inspires you.
5. Distract yourself. For some, the best way to actually get some joy out of running is to forget they are doing it. Distraction is a wonderful tool to escape the reality of the moment, if that is what you are looking for. Find a friend or a dog to run with. Load some good tunes or audio books on your iPod. Drink tequila from your water bottle <not advisable, but you will forget what you are doing.
6. Stick to it. If you have never run before or have not run in a long time, you might be hating life the first time you go out. Don’t despair. Refuse to quit the whole thing because of one miserable run. Keep at it. Keep track of your progress.
7. Make it fun. People take this running thing way too seriously. Realistically, most of us are not going to be sponsored or win money. You don't have to be fast or run far to be a runner. You just have to put one foot in front of the other. Forget all the “rules” and expectations and just go.
8. Don’t stuff your face. One time, before I ran regularly, I ate a huge portion of beef stroganoff before going for a 2 mile run in the middle of the day. One mile in, I was dry heaving. Stuffing your pie hole before a run will invite vomit and/or the runner’s trots into your life. Eat something mild and moderate, like a banana or a piece of toast before a run, and drink water. Don't overload your stomach and you will likely be more comfortable. Then come home and stuff yourself silly because you burned 4,000 calories.
9. Minimize cramping/side stitches. Tons of people tell me that they would run but they get really bad side stitches or cramps. Typically, this means you might be running too fast for what your body is ready for, and not breathing enough. Slow down the pace, and breathe deeply. Warming up before you run also might help.
10. Be afraid. Go somewhere late at night where there are bears and other creatures. This will make you a natural and very fast runner. You will also be extremely motivated to run and will not care about how tired or uncomfortable you are.
I can’t promise you that any of the above tips will make you fall in love with running. But, they just make running a tiny bit more bearable. Try and see!
Any tip you’d like to add for people who hate to run?
Did you used to hate running and now love or at least like it?