By: Olivia Crane
I find that you hear a lot of people say, “Oh, I could never run.” In fact, a few year ago, I was one of those people. Today, I can run longer and harder than I ever imaged and can honestly say that I enjoy it. I finally understand the meaning of ‘runner’s high’.
Literally from my childhood to my University days, I HATED running. I thought I was bad at it and my endurance for it was well, crap. I danced growing up, so I was super active, but running was just not my thing. Although I thought I could never do it, I, for some reason, always wanted to be good at it. I wanted to be able to call myself a ‘runner’. Come Universtiy, when I was no longer dancing and needed to actually go to the gym, I started dabbling with running.
Quite honestly, I would last about 2-5 minutes on the treadmill, running at a slow pace, feeling like I was going to die. I settled with this and would run in intervals; 2 minutes of running, 5 minutes of walking. I did this for a while and never really tried to push myself further.
One summer, Michelle and I signed up for a 5k run. At the time, I was thinking to myself, “Am I insane?” I had never run for more than 2 minutes at a time, how was I going to last 5k. However, I went for it and actually jogged the entire 5k. Both of us were a little stunned that we did it. The run made me realize that I was limiting myself mentally. Clearly, my body was capable of running. It was my mind that was telling me that I couldn’t do it.
After this we signed up for another 5k, a 10k, and then a 15k. We never trained for them but completed all of them without stopping. Did we come in first place and out-run all the others, absolutely not. I wasn’t concerned about my time or how fast I was going, I just wanted to complete each run at a pace where I could keep going without any walking breaks.
It’s funny because now, 5k is my average daily run. I always think back to when I thought I could never pass 2-minutes and now I run for about 30-minutes very regularly.
So, how did I fall in love with running you ask? I changed my mindset, set personal goals, and found techniques that actually work. Everyone is different and these tips may not be the perfect fit for you, but hopefully they’ll help to get you going!
If you are very active, play a lot of sports, or are in the gym all of the time, chances are, you are fit enough to run. Once you realize this, you can get rid of that mental block telling you, “you can’t.” Running is tough on the body, but change is uncomfortable. I’m sure the first time you challenged ‘leg day’, you were sore, too. After pounding the pavement more frequently, your body will get used to the movement.
You need to decide what you want out of running. Do you want to be the fastest? Do you want to be able to run the longest? Do you want to run just to get your cardio in? Once you have your goals, you can work towards what you want. If you want to just run for cardio, like myself, you don’t have to beat yourself up about distance or pace. If you just want to run at a steady pace for 30-minutes, do it. From time-to-time, it’s fun to challenge yourself and see if you can go a little bit faster or a little bit further, or seeing if you can complete that 15k. You’ll learn that accomplishing any running goals you may have is VERY gratifying. Also, your goals don’t have to remain the same, you can change them every day if you so please.
I don’t know anyone who likes to workout without music but for running especially, I NEED music. I love to build a playlist of up beat, hard-hitting songs that will keep me going. It’s even fun to have songs that you can mouth along to. You would be surprised to know that a great song makes time pass really quickly. Even the beat of a song can make you push yourself a little bit harder without even realizing it.
Michelle and I are each other’s perfect running partners. We don’t talk, we listen to our own music, and we get it done. Since we are so in sync, we know when to slow down for one another, speed up for one another, and make sure that we don’t stop. Even running in a group really helps. It’s a great way to push yourself if you don’t want to be falling behind the pack.
Fitness apps may not be for everyone, but I love them. My personal favourite, the Nike+ Running Club app. You can set up plans to help you strive towards your goals or you can just do a free run. This app tells you when you’ve hit a mile or a kilometer, what your pace is and the time that has passed. I like it because I am able to keep track of my progress. This app is especially good for running outdoors because it will alert you at the halfway mark, that way you can turn around and head back home.
All-in-all, running, for me, is all about distracting the mind and let you legs keep moving. Whether you are on a treadmill or running outside, keep your mind occupied. Music is key for this. Once you get into running, you’ll start to notice how amazing you feel afterwards. In fact, running in the morning gives me more energy throughout the day. Running is all about you and your heart and mind will become stronger than ever!