The more you run, the easier it is. At least that’s what my ultra running husband told me when I started running again, um, walking and jogging late last year, after years of not running.
Getting back into running was one of the hardest things I’ve done. At first, vacuuming, loading the dishwasher and folding the kids’ monster laundry piles seemed significantly easier and much more attractive options than trying to run. When a treadmill arrived at the start of winter, staying on it and running for 60 continuous seconds was not only a real chore, but it was incredibly hard. It was uncomfortable. Every part of my body hurt. I complained. I wanted to give up.
But somehow, a few days a week initially, I convinced myself to get on the treadmill. I told myself, I didn’t have to run. Just walk. With my favorite music loaded on my iPhone and comfortable headphones, I soon found my walks turning into walk-run-walks, which then turned into walk-runs. Miraculously, after a few weeks, my time on the treadmill had turned into actual runs! I remember well my excitement when I finally hit 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, then 30 minutes, and then 60 minutes of sustained running!
The more I ran, the easier it became!
What Makes Running Easier? A.K.A. What’s the Secret to Making Running Enjoyable–or Satisfying Enough that You’ll Keep Lacing Up Your Shoes?
It’s doing it. Making a commitment to moving. Putting on running shoes and getting on the treadmill or getting out the door. If you can only walk, walk. If you can push yourself a bit more and alternate walk-jogging or walk-running, even better. In time, you’ll find yourself running more, and walking less.
Don’t think you have to be fast to start. As Huffington Post’s Matt Frazier says, “Slow the f*&# down. Way down.” If you set your expectations to match those runners you see sprinting down local streets or through suburbia, or bouncing up and down like crazy at red lights, you may be sorely disappointed and fail to stick with running. Newer runners often start off too fast. Chances are, those runners you see who go full throttle can’t keep it up for long. You’ve got to find a pace at which you can sustain yourself. If it’s a super slow jog at first, then that’s what it is. The end competition is only with yourself, not with other runners. Finding a happy pace will make you a happy, committed, fit runner over the long haul.
Goal setting is also the ticket. There’s a woman on my street who runs and runs (and runs!) rain, snow or shine. I don’t think she runs with goals to enter race events, but it’s apparent that she has a solid goal to run often. Whether your goal is to run continuously for 15-seconds, run for a mile without stopping, run four times a week, or train for your first 50K, having a goal helps to make running enjoyable. Seeing a relationship emerge between your effort/commitment and results is not only satisfying, but encouraging–and will help you stick with running.
If you stick with running, in time it will get easier–’cause you’ll be getting stronger, tougher and better. Sure, there will be days when it’s hard to find motivation and times when you feel too tired or too busy to run, but consistency will get you to where you want to go–or headed toward something incredible that’s awaiting your discovery.