We all know someone who loves running (side note: we hate this person!). They talk about being addicted to that ‘good’ pain feeling and loving the challenge of pushing themselves to go further and further each time. This type of enthusiasm is basically a foreign language if you’re not a runner yourself.
I understand that for many people, running can seem pretty intimidating and the mere thought of a lap of the block makes them cringe. However, something I always tell my clients is that there’s a runner in all of us, and that it doesn’t matter how far or fast you go, as long as you’re giving it a go.
Learning to love it all comes down to pushing past a mental barrier rather than a physical, and once you persist through this initial pain you’ll find that running can actually be enjoyable and totally rewarding. So, if you actually hate running but are keen to find out what all the fuss is about, take a look at my tips to help you unleash your inner Forrest Gump.
1. Start off slow
Like starting most new things, becoming a runner takes patience and perseverance. I always recommend starting off slowly rather than jumping into a 4km run on your first attempt. This gives the body time to adapt and recover from the impact of running, and slowly strengthens and tones the muscles. For some, the best way to go about this is to start by running slower than you think you can and don’t be afraid to introduce walking intervals into the mix if you’re struggling.
2. Make a killer playlist
If you really hate running, it’s likely you’re completely dreading it even hours before you hit the pavement. I always telling my clients to turn this dread into excitement by putting together a killer running playlist with some of your favourite upbeat songs. Trust me, you’ll forget all about how much you hate running when you’re getting lost in the music!
3. Find a friend
Whether it’s your best mate or furry friend, there’s nothing quite like having a buddy by your side to motivate you and keep you going. Find someone with a similar level of fitness to you and someone who will keep you accountable to make sure you actually turn up.
4. Explore the great outdoors
The two things I always tell my clients to focus on when running is to firstly, focus on your breathing internally. This gives you a great sense of body awareness and rhythm. The second is to really take in everything around you! Ditch the treadmill and take the scenic route and find a running track where you’ll get lost in the environment or that you’d love to explore—my personal favourite is a run along the beach.
5. Stretch it out
I completely get that the muscle pain and ‘can’t walk’ feeling after your first run could be enough to put you off all together. Try to avoid getting to this stage by ensuring you properly warm up before each run and focus on dynamic stretching post workout, targeting your calves, hamstrings, hip flexors and quads. The best way to do this is to grab a foam roller to really stretch it out.
6. Focus on the feeling
When you’re new to the running game, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or put off by the numbers and become overly focused on running for 30 minutes or reaching 3km. My advice is to forget about how far and for how long you’d like to run for, instead just focus on the feeling and push yourself until you know you’ve hit your limit.
I’ve worked with thousands of people on my 28 program who have converted to running when they said it would never happen and now they’re totally addicted. So, just remember this—the only way you can become a runner and get to this stage is if you just do it. Go on… find out what all the fuss is about!