Whether you’re doing it for fun or just for the sake of living a healthy lifestyle, running is hard. As a veteran cross country runner, I had my highs and lows of the treacherous sport. Many still question me today on why I took up four years of running through rugged forests, sweltering summer days, and 20 degree bitter cold mornings (I went to high school in Wisconsin). But despite the fact that I regretted the last two years of dedicating my fall semester to running in nature, there were loads of benefits that came with constant running. I was always in shape, I never felt guilty about eating Chipotle after a race, and I didn’t have to worry about hitting the gym each week. But being in college, I do somewhat regret not actively running as much as I did in high school. Based on my years of experience and realizing that keeping my figure is not going to be easy as it use to be, here are some tips on how to amp yourself up to go for a jog.
1. Get up
The hardest thing about working out is actually getting ready to work out. Once your comfortable in your nice, blanket cacoon it’s hard to to un-ravel yourself and go out into the world. But after years of not wanting to get ready for a race, I’ve realized that a forceful jump out of bed gets the blood flowing. So basically after being warmed up from throwing yourself off the couch, the process of equipping yourself for a work out becomes easier.
2. Eat right
This is the most basic rule for getting healthy but eating the right types of food before running is critical. If you plan on going for a run, schedule to eat your meal at least an hour before running. That way you wont feel like throwing up while working out.
Make sure the meal consists of calories that aren’t empty and contain carbohydrates, such as a chicken salad or pasta. Carbs are used to produce ATP (energy) and you won’t feel wiped out when you finish running versus when you do on an empty stomach. See, science! I typically get unbearable cravings to stuff my face after a run. But instead of racing towards an ice cream jar, I usually refuel on a peanut butter sandwich and chocolate milk or any other protein based foods.
There are days when I actually feel like I cannot go for a run if my college GPA depended on it. Whether its homework, stress, or pure laziness the hardest moments to motivate yourself is when the body just doesn’t feel like doing anything. These are the moments where visualizing the end results you want to achieve encourages you more to hop out of bed and go for a quick jog. Personally, I want a flatter stomach. So to coax myself into gearing up for a run I imagine myself wearing a tight crop top with low cut jeans, and in between that is a glistening six pack that hope fully doesn’t resemble a hotdog buns packet.
So if your personal motivation is weight related or health related, keeping in mind the end result of your daily workout will surely nudge you towards getting active.
One major reason why many college students don’t work out is the amount of homework they have. We all fear that if we sacrifice thirty minutes of our day of getting fit, we’re jeopardizing the amount of time we have to finish an essay or study for the next exam. But put it in perspective. If you’re on campus, the walk to the gym is between 5-10 minutes long. Once you’re there take 10 minutes of just walking on the treadmill to warm up. Then speed up your workout for 20 and then slow it down for 10 minutes for your cool down. That’s about 40 minutes of your day that probably was going to be wasted by checking Facebook or watching click bait YouTube videos. Need to study? Make some flash cards and bring it with you to the gym. Killing two birds with one stone a’mirite?
Now that I have given you my nuggets of wisdom, it is time for you to eat those nuggets, and then burn them off. It takes time for any new runner to get used to the feeling of running. It’s a guarantee that fitting a regular run in your schedule will boost your metabolism, lower your stress, and increase your happiness.
By: Yasmine Sahid