Running sets you free.
I’m a runner. Running has helped me to lose weight, look better, and feel better about myself. It has helped me to strengthen my willpower. Running has taught me that I’m capable of much more than I thought I was. Needless to say, I think everyone should run.
If running is something that you’ve been thinking of taking up, below you’ll find 10 easy ways to become a runner.
1. Stop Telling Yourself that You Can’t Run.
When I was in middle school the physical education (P.E.) teacher would have us run twice around the school’s soccer field at the start of each P.E. class. And every time I would run 1/8 of the way, and then walk the rest. I had convinced myself that running was for “athletic” people, and I wasn’t athletic, so I couldn’t run.
Today I run 7 kilometers, three times a week. Which means I can easily run about 20 times around a soccer field. What changed? I stopped telling myself that I couldn’t run.
If you’ve been telling yourself that you can’t run, how do you convince yourself that you can? Well, the other day I read that everyone who is alive today is descended from runners. Why? Because your ancestors survived to pass on their genes by outrunning the non-runners (who were caught and eaten by saber tooth tigers).
So, remember, you’re here today because your ancestors were runners. Running is in your DNA. Say this to yourself: “I can run. I can become a runner.”
2. Get Everything You’ll Need.
The second step to becoming a runner is to get everything that you’ll need. Beware: there’s an entire industry based around running gear and technology. There are running accessories galore. However, you don’t need to go out and spend lots of money to start running. All you really need is comfortable clothes and comfortable running shoes.
Even now that I’m a seasoned runner, I keep my running gear simple:
- Champion workout capri leggings
- Champion tees
- Ankle length cotton socks
- Support tanks (women)
- Garmin Forerunner 15 Small
- Fuelbelt R3O Revenge Hydration Belt
The only item that you need to be picky with are your running shoes. Go to a running store and ask an expert to help you pick out a running shoe that’s right for you (it depends on the shape of your arch, your mileage, your pronation type, and so on). I wear ASICS running shoes and I love them.
Running costs me about $600 a year, or $50 a month. Not bad.
3. Be Ready to Be Uncomfortable.
Know that running is not always comfortable. When you start out, you’re pushing your body beyond it’s current capabilities, which produces discomfort. But even after you’ve been running for a while, there’s still some discomfort involved with running. After all, you’re doing something that’s taxing on your body and cardiovascular system.
However, anything worth doing brings some discomfort with it. Look at the following:
- In order to start your own business you have to deal with the discomfort of taking on risk; of having to acquire new skills; of having to hustle for customers; and so on.
- In order to do well in college you have to deal with the discomfort of studying when you’d rather watch TV; of participating in class discussions when you would rather just zone out at the back of the room; of working on your report when you’d rather be hanging out with your friends; and so on.
- In order to save money so that you can travel you have to deal with the discomfort of skipping the Starbucks coffee; of foregoing buying those cute shoes all your friends are wearing; of cooking your own food when you would rather just order take-out; and so on.
In order to succeed with running–as with anything in life–you need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Running is hard, and that’s one of the things that makes it great.
4. Start Small.
Forget running 5 miles on your first day. Instead, just run for a minute and then walk the rest of the way. Two weeks later, run one minute for every four minutes that you walk. After that, continue to increase the amount of time that you run gradually. Start small, and then make incremental increases.
5. Get a Plan.
In order to become a runner, you need a plan. That is, you need guidance and structure for building your mileage. Find a running plan online, in a magazine, or in a book for runners, and follow it. Here are some plans for you to consider:
6. Quiet Your Mind.
Your worst enemy when you’re trying to become a runner is the little voice in your head. You’ll hear the little voice saying things like the following:
- “You want to do what? Go out for a run? Are you nuts? Do you know how hard running is?”
- “It’s been such a tough day today. Let’s just relax and watch some TV. Come on, you deserve it.”
- “Why don’t you wait until you’ve lost a few pounds before you try running?”
You need to find a way to ignore the little voice in your head. There are three things you can do. First, look for ways to take your attention away from the little voice. Distract yourself from what the little voice is saying by doing any of the following:
- Plan what you’re going to have for dinner when you get back from your run;
- Recite a poem that you’ve memorized; or
- Think of a fond memory, particularly memories related to goals that you’ve achieved in the past.
Second, override what the little voice is saying by reminding yourself of the many benefits of running. Here are a few of them:
- Running boosts your mood.
- Running increases bone mass.
- Running reduces your risk of getting diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
- Running increases lung function.
- Running can help you live longer.
And, third, you can look for ways to trick the little voice in your head. Try this:
- When you hear the little voice complaining, tell it that you’re just going to run around the block once.
- Then, once you’re out there, talk it into running around the block twice.
- Continue tricking the little voice in your head in this way until you’ve completed your run (thankfully, the little voice in your head is dumb, and easy to trick).
7. Schedule Your Runs.
In order to run on a consistent basis, you have to schedule your runs. I devote one-hour-a-day to fitness. Here’s my workout schedule:
- Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I lift weights at the gym from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
- Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays I run outside from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
I don’t leave my fitness to “when I get around to it” or “when I have some spare time”. I schedule it, so it gets done.
8. Choose Your Running Route.
You don’t just need to know when you’re going running, but also where. The first requisite is that you find a route that’s safe. Consider things like well-lit areas, sidewalks, and the presence of other people who are exercising.
Walking out your front door and running around you neighborhood is often the most convenient thing to do. If there’s a high school near your home you may want to run around their track.
I’m very fortunate that there’s a gorgeous running path right in front of my building that runs parallel to the sea for several miles. If you can find a jogging path near to where you live, that would be ideal.
9. Have an Outcome Goal.
I’ve already stated that I run 7km three times a week. Going out for a run is a process goal. However, ideally, you should also have an outcome goal. That is, a specific outcome that you’re working toward.
I do best when I have a specific outcome to work toward, because I’m an achievement-oriented person. It’s easier for me to get motivated if I feel like I’m working toward something concrete. I’m guessing that a lot of you are the same way.
Ask yourself: What goal am I trying to achieve by running X times a week for Y amount of miles? Here are some examples of outcome-based goals:
- Run a mile in ten minutes.
- Run a 5K.
- Break 30 minutes in a 5K.
- Run a 10K.
- Run 30 miles a week.
- Run a half-marathon.
- Run a marathon.
- Finish a sub-4-hour marathon.
- Qualify for the Boston marathon.
10. Make It Fun.
It’ll be much easier to get yourself to go out for a run if it’s something that you look forward to. You can achieve this by making running fun. Here are three ways to make running fun:
- Listen to music- create a running playlist filled with songs you love and which fill you with energy.
- Gamify your runs – look for ways to turn your runs into a game. This can include quests, challenges, rewards, and so on.
- Run with someone -you can make your runs fun by finding a running buddy you enjoy being with.
Taking up running is one of the best things that I’ve done for myself, and I recommend that everyone try it (with your doctor’s consent). The process above is the one that I used to become a runner, and I’m confident that it’ll work for anyone. Live your best life by taking up running.
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