There are two types of people in this world: runners and non-runners. Okay, not really that narrow. But sort of. Hear me out; if you’re someone who runs regularly and enjoys running, chances are you already know how beneficial walking and running regularly can be for your mental, emotional, and physical state. But I’d bet most individuals can’t stand the thought of running, let alone enjoying running. Believe it or not, you can find enjoyment through running while reaping the benefits of the exercise. Below are the following lessons we’ve learned (the hard way) on how to make running easier and even more fun!
1. Slow Down the Pace
Ok, we know you’re the type of person who takes on a challenge with gusto and might, but when it comes to running, starting slow will help you a ton. Start out running easy. Get to know your body and its form. Work on breathing in through your nose, out through your mouth, and maintaining a pace at which you could hold a conversation without panting or losing your breath so much that you have to stop.
Also, if you start out too fast, going full speed on your runs right out of the gate instead or working up to it, your body is going to hurt. Nobody likes running when it hurts. Let alone running yourself into the ground, doing more harm than good. Your body needs a chance to build aerobic/endurance fitness and adapt to the high impact of running.
If you get bored easily, and running isn’t your thing just yet, do some interval training. This means a mix of both easy jogging and walking. Start with a minute of each, alternating with good pacing and breathing. Aim for a training/running session of 30-45 minutes without pushing too far too injury or past your aerobic threshold. The idea is to gradually build, not quickly burn out.
2. Listen to Music While Running
Is your jam in the car sang by the bee gees, Rhianna, Tiesto, or Bob Marley? Whatever your style of music, there’s most likely going to be a running playlist catered to your favorite tunes. Some days your mood might impact your music more so than the music itself, and that is okay too! We recommend listening to a high-energy music playlist (BPM 90-130) for fast-paced interval training whereas slowing it down a bit (60-100 BPM) can be more beneficial for a recovery run or long-distance run.
Choosing the right music can greatly influence your mood and aerobic performance overall improving the suck of the run altogether. Humans can’t resist moving to a beat, so maybe adding in a little music (paired with some headphone that stays in of course) might just be the game-changer to help you actually have fun while running!
3. Download a Running App
Do you like the thought of being chased by zombies? Or maybe you just like knowing when you’ve rounded a mile out. Perhaps you’re all about metrics and want to know the details, like elevation gain, distance, calories, and speed during your runs. Well, guess what? There’s an app for that! Our favorite running apps include Nike+ Run Club, Rock My Run, Zombies, Run!, Runtastic, Fit Radio, and Couch to 5K (C2K).
4. Be in the Moment – Zen Running
Running can actually act as a meditative part of your day. When you practice being in the moment, you practice not looking too far ahead or behind. This is also a way to let your mind relax and find solitude and peace with every stride you take. Say you set out to run two miles. If you’re too far in the future, thinking about how far you have to go, you’re taking away from the present moment, such as the trees passing or the sound of your feet hitting the ground. If you’re thinking about how you felt before you went on your run, and how you didn’t want to and how there are plenty of other things you could be doing, again, you’re not really living in the moment.
5. Relax & Enjoy the Journey
You’ve already made a commitment to get yourself out the door and on your way, why ruin it now stressing about other things? Just smile and relax. When we physically express joy, such as smiling, this signals to our brain to release the happy hormones that circulate through our body. A simple smile can actually make your run suck less and become more fun! Not to mention, it can even be an outlet for all our daily stressors.
Don’t forget to relax. When you run, unclench your jaw and your fists. Let those elbows swing, let the head nod and the cheeks become loose. Your shoulders shouldn’t be shrugged up real tight and your arms shouldn’t be locked to your sides. With every leap and stride, you take, try to make a little bouncing motion as you go from heel to toe, in an effort to absorb the pressure in your step.
6. Take Active Breaks
Say you’re out jogging and you feel yourself getting fatigued. Instead of stopping under the nearest tree, simply slow down your pace. Even if it’s just the slightest, slowest jog possible, try to keep moving. When we stop, we slow our heart rate quickly, making it harder to get started again. Instead, slow down the pace, look around, put a smile on, and pick it back up when you feel like your heart rate is steady and you can control your breath.
7. Get a Good Pair of Running Shoes
Ah, there’s no replacement for some good quality running shoes! While yes, you can get some discount Nike shoes at an outlet, heading into a running specialty store will not only cost you a penny or two more but will help you enjoy running and improve your running longevity. Think about it – your feet and ankles literally control everything your legs do, where you go, and how well you get there. The last thing you want to do on a quest for health and happiness is injuring yourself along the way. Have a specialist find out where the pressure points are in your stride and foot placement to recommend shoes tailored just for your own feet and goals. It’ll be well worth it, especially if you think running sucks.
8. Stay Consistent
Just as anything else in health and wellness, and life in general, consistency is key. If you’re committed to becoming a better runner and making the experience more enjoyable, there are no shortcuts for you to take. Just like every other aspect of your training, running should be no different. The more consistent you are, the more you’ll improve your endurance, aerobic capacity, and running efficiency. What you’re able to do in two months will astound you. And don’t forget to set some goals. Start small to build big. Set out to run a couple of times a week, then three times, then so on and so forth. Make a plan and stick to it.
9. Run at Different Times of the Day
Ever notice how much easier it is to run after dinner or in the morning as compared to around 2 or 3 pm on a hot day? There’s a reason for that! Dependent on the weather, if you can run inside or outside, and your schedule, running can be enjoyed better based on your preferences through different times of the day. If you’re looking to lose weight with your running, we recommended doing it fasted (read more about that here) or if you’re looking to help with your digestion and stress levels from the day, try running after dinner or before bed. If you don’t have any alone time, try to split your lunch break into half eating food and half running. If you don’t have time, make time.
10. The Best Supplements For Runners
While supplements can’t motivate you to get out the door and hit the pavement running, what they can do is help you recover from your runs and fuel your body like oil in a car, lubricating your joints, tendons, muscles, and ligaments.
RELATED ARTICLE The 7 Best Supplements For Endurance Runners
BCAA Supplement for Runners
Running sucks a lot less when you're hydrated and when you're not breaking down your muscle gains while doing it. Recover faster from your run and quench your thirst with more than just water.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCT BCAA 2:1:1, 50 Servings Lemon-Lime
L-Glutamine Supplement for Runners
You know what sucks? Running. You know what sucks more? Running while you're sore. With just 1 scoop of L-glutamine a day you can take your run recovery and put it into hyper mode. Glutamine also helps runners improve their endurance, which means longer runs and better results.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCT L-Glutamine, 100 Servings
Beta-Alanine Supplement for Runners
Fight fatigue and fend off the lactic acid (soreness) build up by taking a scoop of beta-alanine before you head out the door. This product raises carnosine levels, which helps fight the hydrogen ion buildup, helping to increase training volume.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCT Beta-Alanine, 100 Servings
Kre-Alkalyn Supplement for Runners
High-intensity training programs require the body to go under strenuous aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Optimizing VO2 Max and ATP production, creates a significant improvement in exercise endurance and athletic performance, resulting in better workouts and better results.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCT Kre-Alkalyn, 100 Servings
Running Sucks... or Does It?
All in all, there are more than a few ways to make running enjoyable and suck a whole lot less. Your body doesn't have to hurt, you can listen to fun and upbeat music, you can get fit and healthy while doing it in style. So what's the excuse now? You can literally run anywhere you want to in the world and all it takes is a positive outlook, some BCAA and electrolyte powder in your water bottle, and some shoes. Simple and straightforward. Better yet? You can go at your OWN pace!! Now that's a race anyone can win!
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