I personally love running and can’t wait to hit the pavement, but even the most enthusiastic runners like myself struggle with motivation and boredom from time to time. Some people, however, can’t stand running and avoid it altogether. Whether you’re a dedicated runner looking for ways to improve your experience or you’re a reluctant beginner lacking enthusiasm, I have news for you: running doesn’t have to suck! Here are some tips that can help you actually look forward to running.
Get Excited About a Podcast, Audiobook or Album Release
Do you like keeping up with NPR News? Is there a book you’ve been wanting to read but feel like you just don’t have the time? Are you a little too enthusiastic about the new Kanye album? Use the act of listening to get motivated. Instead of tuning into your favorite podcast, audiobook or music at work or during downtime, save the audio experiences until your workout. If you’re excited to listen, you’ll be far more excited to run. And as an added bonus, you’ll feel more productive knowing you’re accomplishing two tasks at once.
Stretching feels good, and if you feel good, you’re more likely to stick to your routine. Aches, pains and injuries either during your workout or post-run can lead to pushing the pause button on your fitness goals. The best way to avoid injury and aches is to stretch properly and thoroughly before and after your run. Some of the most important stretches include walking lunges, standing quad stretches, kneeling hip flexor stretches, and standing calf stretches. I also recommend incorporating yoga into your fitness routine if possible. Just one yoga session a week can improve your flexibility and lower your risk of injury.
Have a Post-Run Routine
Having a post-run routine gives you something to look forward to and is a pretty crucial part of staying motivated. Keep these two elements in mind when creating a post-run routine: recovery and relaxation. What are your favorite ways to relax and how can you incorporate them in a way that will help your muscles recover? Spending a few minutes in a sauna is my favorite way to recharge after a run, but you might prefer a hot bath, hot tub, massage, yoga session, or even a cold shower if you’re adventurous. And let’s not forget about food. If you’re like me, you look forward to replacing some lost calories. Find a healthy food you love that’s also good for muscle recovery so that you’ll have something to look forward to post-run. Some great options are almonds, fruits, eggs and even dark chocolate in moderation.
Run With Others
If you’re used to running alone, mixing it up and running with others can boost motivation and add a fun social element to your workout. Having a buddy system will keep you accountable and completely break up the monotony that often goes along with running solo. If no one comes to mind when you think “running buddy,” local running Meetups are an awesome way to meet new people who can also act as a workout support system.
It doesn’t get much better than a running app created to keep you engaged and moving. One of my personal favorites is Zombies, Run! 5K Training. Zombies, Run! gives you missions to complete that include stretching, jogging, running and walking, all designed to prevent zombies from catching up to you and eating your brain. The app also comes with entertaining zombie story audio to keep you entertained throughout your entire workout.
Protect Your Nipples
I know we said five ways, but we like to throw in bonuses without shame. As many long-distance runners know, nipple chafing, also known as “fissure of the nipple,” can turn an otherwise pleasant run into a painful experience. Luckily, you don’t have to end your workout early due to nipple pain. My colleagues and I created NipStrips so that you can run faster and longer with zero nipple-related worries. Our adhesive is long-lasting and effective against sweat and abrasion, yet still allows the strip to peel off easily without causing pain or damaging your skin.
Wishing you happy runs and pain-free nips,