If I was asked to compile a list of the worst things in my life three years ago, running would probably be at the top. I hated running with a passion and it was probably the only thing that made me wish I was doing homework instead. But like most things in life, you really have to give it a chance in order to reap the benefits.
Running is probably most excruciating in its initial phase aka the phase at which most people tend to give up. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was your stamina. If you keep at it by pushing yourself physically and mentally, it can do wonders for your body! Although running has its fair share of physical advantages, the mental benefits are worth mentioning as well. Personally speaking, running has completely changed my life in terms of my mental health. It helps me think with a clear head and is always the best way for me to de-stress after long and hectic days. There was never a time when I finished my run without a sense of accomplishment. Being a runner means pushing your limits every time you get on that treadmill and hit the start button. The strength and perseverance you build through running make you mentally strong, and ultimately that strength gives you all the confidence you need. But this article isn’t about the benefits of running, but rather how to tackle that initial phase that makes everyone want to quit. Here a few tips:
1. Music: I can’t run a minute without my music. It has always been such an important part of my runs that at times I feel like I only run because it’s a chance for me to listen to music. Put on some of your favorite tunes and pump yourself up!
2. Interval training: The end goal for most runners is to run uninterrupted for as fast and long as possible. Interval training comes in handy if you’re trying to build up to this level. Run for five minutes rest for one. It’s okay to take breaks initially, but make sure that you consistently make your interval training more challenging as you progress.
3. Outfit: As much as the phrase “you look good, you feel good” shouldn’t hold true, it does for me when it comes to my gym clothes. Investing in quality athletic wear not only makes your runs more comfortable but also makes you feel like a total badass! If you’re serious enough about running, go ahead and buy yourself those Lulu Lemons girl!
4. Meal management: Give yourself at least two hours between your last meal and your run. Not giving yourself sufficient time could lead to cramps and acid reflux, neither of which are good experiences.
5. Hydration: I’ve come across quite a few people who punish themselves during their runs by refraining from drinking water. It’s always interesting to hear their logic behind this. Running is quite a strenuous form of physical activity, which means you’re going to sweat…. A LOT. As your body loses water through sweat, it’s really important that you keep yourself hydrated throughout your run.
6. Focus: Last but not least, it always helps to begin your runs with a strong head. Find things that motivate you and help you zone in before your run. Set a goal before every run and try your hardest to push yourself every time!
I hope these tips help you break through those initial stages of running. This spring give your body what it really needs by giving yourself a healthy kick in the right direction! Remember, it’s all in your head. If you truly believe in yourself, it’s amazing how far you can go.