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Learning to Run

Posted by on Jan 11, 2012 in Health & Fitness | 3 comments

I’ve always hated running. Not in the “I hate working out, but especially running” kind of way. No matter how good of shape I’ve been in, running always made me go, ugh.

I grew up as a figure skater, so I always had plenty of strength and endurance. Give me an intense 90-minute skating practice, no problem; An hour dance class, wahoo! Yoga, pilates, aerobics, biking, hiking, all fine by me — but running was my bane. In skating you train pushing yourself between elements with high bursts of energy and there’s really little time to think about anything but your body and controlling it in between. My problem with running was the steadiness of it — the continual, repetitive motion bothered me and no mental distractions stimulation meant I just got bored.

I tried it many a time, I mean after all, what cheaper, more convenient cardio workout is there? But frankly, I just never had enough in it to really make myself do it. That is, until I got a dog. Last summer we got Daisy, and the boxer breed is known for high energy. Without a fenced backyard, that meant I needed to force myself to run, though this time out of love rather than just personal exercise. Because of that, I’ve found some ways to make myself not only learn to run, but enjoy it.

Really, how can you say no to this face?

Find the right setting.

I can’t do the treadmill. For me it’s like adding monotony to monotony. Plus, for some reason they don’t let Daisy come to the gym. ;) Luckily there’s a gorgeous trail right down the street and can escape to. The landscape the fresh air always seem to put me in a good mood.

Pace yourself.

I have this tendency to push myself to the max. All the time. When it comes to running, that means either a) I burn myself out fast or b) I’m super sore the next several days. That means slowing myself down in the beginning and pushing myself later on. Pay attention to your body and keep your energy consistent.

Get distracted.

I might have a mental problem, but I simply can’t just run without distracting myself. I’m just alone with my thoughts and get bored. So I turn on my Pandora to a new station each time and do my best to zone out. Sometimes I use running as my allotted time to overanalyze think through things. I even turn to social media for distraction — you might see some Foursquare check-ins and Instagram photos whilst running (did I mention I’m a multi-tasker?). If you’re able to lose yourself in the moment, even better. I can do it occasionally, just not on a consistent basis, so I have back-up.

Make little goals.

When I start running, I feel great — energized and motivated. But a ways in, I start into that mental block of wanting to stop and walk or slow down. Listening to my body, I can tell a distinct difference between needing to slow down so I don’t kill my muscles and wanting to slow down “just because.” I play little games with myself when this happens. For instance “just keep running until this song ends.” Then the song ends and I’m feeling okay, so I’ll tell myself, “just keep going until I get to the end of that block ahead.” As I do this more and more I find I can just keep going and can run a lot longer than I would otherwise.

Learn to breathe.

Breathing is extremely important in exercise. I used to get horrible side aches whenever I ran, to the point where I was clutching my side and could barely walk — and this is when I was in amazing shape. A few of my good running friends said it was my breathing and sure enough, since I have learned to breathe properly, I haven’t had an issue. The key is making sure you get enough oxygen and breathing deep breaths filling up your lungs entirely. Control your breaths in and out and work on controlling in both directions. If you’ve learned pilates breathing, control it in much the same way. Conveniently, this is also a great distraction.

Hope you enjoyed these tips and you can get yourself out running!

Why do you love or hate running?



Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Ian Hamilton

    Lovely article Angie – must admit that, like you, the boredom of running puts me off, even though I know it’s good for me. But the dog idea is great – I’ve been hankering after one for several years now, so this could be the final piece of the jigsaw that persuades me! The dog can keep me company at home whilst I’m working at the computer and I’ll be forced to take breaks to take him/her for a run – win/win! :)

  2. Megan

    I used to really enjoy running. I was on the track team and ran distance. Like you, growing up with an activity like dancing and tennis, I love aerobic classes or hiking. But running on a treadmil or outside, I just get bored. I also think when you do a class or hike, you don’t really feel like you are working out!

  3. Haley

    We’re obviously in the same boat (figure skaters/running haters). The way I made myself like running was to have an end goal. I signed up for a half-marathon in a city that I wanted to visit. So in a set amount of days I have to run 13.1 miles and in order to not look dumb I run regularly. I also LOVE my Nike+ app on my phone, I can set it for a distance and it tells me how much further I have to go. I also do the distracting things, usually with music (til the end of the song).

    Happy Running!

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