I loved running in my teens and ran a bit for exercise in college. But it was about two years ago, in my later 30s, where I fell in love again with the feelings I got after a good run. I’ve done just about everything differently this time around, and against many of the “rules”, you typically hear about. If you want to get into running but just haven’t found your groove, here’s what’s worked for me.
I listen to podcasts. It took me way too long to figure out that listening to music – or worse, silence – doesn’t work for me. What has worked for me are podcasts. In particular, true crime. The key has been to find something that leaves me in suspense. I only listen to the podcasts on my runs, and rarely does an episode end at the exact same time as a run, so it’s been a huge motivator to get back out the next day so I can listen to the rest of the episode.
I run the same route every day. At first, I thought I needed variety to stay interested. But I’d almost always discover that when I returned home, my run wasn’t quite as long as I wanted it to be. But doing the same route each time now, I know that I’ll always hit my distance goal, and I can choose to challenge myself with speed if I want or show it down if I’m not feeling it that day.
I don’t have a schedule. So, unlike my routes, I switch up the time of day that I run. I found this extremely helpful because if I set myself up as a “morning runner,” but it was storming or just a rough morning, I’d have an easy excuse to skip the day. But not holding myself to a schedule, I usually pick based on weather, family schedules, or just what I feel like.
I like cute running clothes. For real, it helps to love running when you like what you’re wearing. Plus, it’s worth the investment in leggings that don’t fall down, socks with extra cushion, and a sports bra that fits just right. You don’t need a lot to get started, but a few coordinated pieces that feel good can be that extra motivation to get changed and get out the door.
I got fitted for tennis shoes. I went to Fleet Feet, but several local stores can help you get a great fit. They had me run on a treadmill and recommended a couple of different brands. They also recommended a half size larger than what I’d been wearing. While they felt a tad big initially, it’s been a difference-maker in terms of comfort.
I don’t really push myself. This may seem like a weird one. But I want to love running long-term and want it to be something that’s a fun stress-reliever. I’ve naturally improved (a lot) just by making running something I do regularly without rigorous goals.
I’m ready to run in about any weather. Okay, we’re back to talking about clothes. But I love running during every season – I just wear the appropriate gear for chilly temperatures. In the summer, I typically try to run earlier in the day before the sun gets too harsh.
With running, you don’t need fancy at-home machines or a trip to the gym. It’s just about finding a few tricks to help keep you motivated. If running is definitely not your thing, but you’re looking to exercise more this year, you can get more workout ideas here.