I love running because my mind and the rest of my body loves running at least as much as my feet do.
Do you want to run but find it a struggle to get started? Or to keep up with your running workouts? Is inertia holding you back?
Most runners have been there at some point. Getting started with running often feels a bit like a rocket at take-off, reaching escape speed. Once you’ve escaped from the gravitational pull of your habits, it becomes so much easier to keep going.
Why Love Running?
Love for running isn’t something you have to be born with. You can learn how to like running. You can even teach yourself how to enjoy running.
If you’re wondering how to become a runner when you hate running, I hope this post will help you. Let’s start with why I love running.
1. Simplicity at its finest
When we’re children, we run without thinking about it out of pure joy. Running as an adult is just as simple.
Our bodies already know how to do it. All we have to do to get better at it is to keep on running regularly. You don’t need fancy gear, a membership, a coach, or anything else.
You simply run. Running is one of the simplest physical activities you can do. It can encourage you to simplify the rest of your life by focusing on what you need and what matters – not on the distractions.
2. Running is affordable
You probably have a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, right? To get started with running, you need a pair of comfortable running shoes, and that’s about it.
Even if you want to get some wicking running gear that saves you from feeling all sweaty, you can get a quality outfit for less than a hundred dollars. As to memberships or subscriptions, you don’t need any to become a runner.
Running is one of the most affordable recreational activities and types of training around. I love that about it.
3. Adventure and freedom
Running encourages you to discover new places and meet new people. It will take you to places you never thought of going before.
Some of these places are physical, like beautiful trails you’ve never even known existed in your region. Others are internal landscapes made up of strong emotions and self-discoveries, personal revelations, and mental highs.
Running will also liberate you. It will free you from thoughts and stress, from doubts and hesitations, from needing a gym membership or a training ground.
4. Simply keeps you fit
Need to get more active? Running is one of the best ways to get in the minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity that the American Heart Association recommends for lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and improving overall health.
Running helps you burn more calories than walking. It can improve your oxygen intake and lung function, which will make you feel healthier.
5. Running community
The running community is like a special, free-membership-for-all club where everyone gets perks. Perks include support, friendship, solidarity, advice, and the kind of friendly competition that challenges and motivates you to keep running.
Runners come from many backgrounds and run for many different reasons. Some for health reasons, some for the high, others to push themselves out of their comfort zone.
Being part of a running community is a fantastic way to meet interesting people. And make dear friends.
6. You can do it anywhere
Around your neighborhood. In the park. On the trail. Around the race track. In nature. On the beach. On a treadmill.
Even when you have to travel to another country for work. You can run anywhere your feet take you. When it’s raining, when it’s hot, and when it’s snowing too.
7. It’s a great stress and anxiety reducer
Running wards off depression and reduces stress. Striking the ground with your feet as you run takes your mind off worries. It helps you cope with difficult situations in your life.
When you run, more blood circulates to the stress centers in the brain. At the same time, your body releases endorphins, a type of hormone that makes muscles feel less pain.
And of course, you get a feeling of euphoria and well-being, the runner’s high, which may occur as your body releases endocannabinoids.
Tips to Learn to Love Running
With so many reasons to love running, what more do you need to actually start loving adding up those miles? A few practical tips, perhaps.
1. Start small and take one step at a time
Don’t mistake enthusiasm for stamina. In the beginning, it’s not about how much or how fast you run. It’s about showing up for every run.
Doing a short run with a proper warm-up and cool-down is better than panting your way to exhaustion trying to run for miles at a time.
Start with runs that make you feel good without exhausting you or putting you at risk of injury. And keep showing up, even on rainy or lazy days when you’d rather watch Netflix or browse social media.
Before you can work on improving your personal record, you need to build a running habit.
2. Don’t compare with others
Some people run more easily and faster than others. Maybe they have a naturally slim physique. Maybe they’ve also grown up in an environment that made it easier for them to pick up running at an early age. So what?
You’re not in competition with them. When you run, the only person you compete with is yourself.
You don’t need to be a better runner than anyone else. You only need to be a better runner than your slow and lazy self, the one who doubts your ability to become a good runner.
We’ve already looked at some of the benefits of being part of a running community. Being in one is great when you’re at the beginning of your journey. And throughout your life as a runner.
It’s good to be proactive about this. If you keep on running, you’re bound to meet and interact with other runners. But if you don’t already have a running group, you can look for one.
Running apps and social media make joining a running community easier than ever. Don’t forget about local running groups, either.
4. Mix things up
Trail runs, hill runs, high-intensity interval runs, and sprints are just some types of workouts you can build into your running plan. Don’t forget about strength workouts and cross-training such as cycling or swimming.
They can help you reach your fitness goals faster, work more muscle groups, and become a better and faster runner. More than boosting your fitness, mixing things up will make running more fun and interesting.
5. Listen to your body
Training plans, workouts, books on running – all of these will help you on your journey as a runner. But don’t forget about your body.
If you’re running too much, your knees, tendons, and quads will tell you. If your running shoes are worn out, your feet will let you know. And, If you push yourself too hard on those hill runs – or not push yourself hard enough – your heart rate will tell you.
Listen to your body and adjust your runs and your goals accordingly.
6. Pick an environment
It’s easy to fall in love with running when you do it in an environment you like returning to. For some runners, it’s the park. For others, the trail, the neighborhood, or even the treadmill.
Whatever environment works for you, stick mostly to it, at least in the beginning. Being comfortable with your surroundings will make it easier to run. It can also heighten the whole experience.
Listening to music releases dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter. It boosts your mood and decreases stress. It can even boost your endurance by altering how you perceive effort.
The right tempo music can help you pace yourself better. For most regular and long runs, try a music tempo of 120–140 beats per minute. You may want to experiment with other tempos, too, though.
Good to know: The effects of music may decrease during fast runs. So when you do sprints, you may want to pause the music and focus solely on the running.
Is your love affair with running about to begin? I hope so. Before you stop procrastinating and start running, here are a few things to take with you.
- Running is simple and affordable and invites you to discover new places.
- Running isn’t just an exercise to stay fit or a way to manage stress. It’s an adventure that will transform you.
- From a healthier heart and better lung capacity to a higher life expectancy, running is one of the healthiest things you can do in life.
- Being part of a running community makes it easier to keep running and love it.
- Start small and mix up your running workouts to make running fun.
- Running in an environment you love while listening to music can help you fall in love with your runs.
Now that your love affair with running is about to begin, why not start getting your gear ready? You won’t have to dress fancy for a date with running. You just need some comfortable clothes and a decent pair of running shoes.