3 Tricks to Help You Actually Enjoy Running Again
Ally Love is a certified health coach, fitness model, NBA host, and Peloton instructor. She's also the founder of Love Squad, an online destination created to empower women through fitness and a healthy lifestyle. As a contributor for THE/THIRTY, she'll be sharing her honest perspective on staying in shape and living a truly well-rounded, healthy life. This month, she shares how she makes running a habit—even when she's feeling less than motivated.
Three years ago, I started my running journey. Previously, I couldn't even make it one mile without stopping. As a former professional dancer and studio-workout junkie, I never bothered with the idea of running, especially since it seemed quite tedious and boring. The activities I was accustomed to were a lot more colourful—at least for me.
It took some coercion by a close friend to sign up for a half-marathon as a challenge. I can't say my first half-marathon was enjoyable, but after eight more plus a couple of 10Ks, I can finally say that I'm totally in love—ok, and in hate—with running.
While I usually find pleasure in hitting the pavement, I've definitely experienced times when I don't, times when I've fallen off the wagon and am not sure if I'll ever get back on. But as with most things, somehow I always do—thanks in part to a few habits that I fall back on to get me motivated again.
Here are three simple tricks to help you enjoy running, whether you're trying to get into it for the first time or want to reestablish the habit.
Find a Fun Run Path
While running may be a free form of exercise, finding a regular running path can be daunting. Finding a trail that helps you digest your mileage can positively affect the experience. When I was hiding from running and dreading hitting the streets, I opted to try unfamiliar grounds to see how it affected my transition back into the sport. What I learned is that when I run across the busy streets of the city, it's much easier for me take my mind off the run itself and focus on bobbing and weaving through traffic and cars. While this can become annoying or even dangerous, I actually found pleasure in the variety. (Just always remember to be mindful of traffic and other road hazards!)
Dress the part
My mum used to tell me to dress for success. It's a cliché, but she had a point: To feel like a runner, you want to try to look like a runner. Sometimes, establishing your swag will only make you feel better about what you're doing—it's part of the fitness culture. And while you're hitting the pavement, if your clothes don't make you feel "better," at least they will prepare you for the task at hand.
Decide: Music or no music
When I'm in a slump or just not feeling it, sometimes running with just the sound of my breath is enough. It motivates me to focus on clearing the thoughts in my head and whatever is in my heart. Then there have been times when I've been on a wild running hiatus and needed some serious bass-bump remixes to get me to my boss level (aka my inner athlete status). But this trick is about figuring out what works for you at what time. The key is to explore.
To be honest, there have been quite a few times where I have intentionally dodged running. There have bene times that I was extremely busy and looked up a month later only to realise I hadn't run a single kilometre. It is during these times that I rely on my toolbox of tips and ticks.
One of the rules I live by is that not all things work for all people—it's about trying it all and figuring out what works for you. Remember: The magical thing about running is that it will never be conquered completely. Not every run is the same, and every finish line leads to a new start.