I have a love-hate relationship with running. Like I mentioned the other day, I am on a new journey towards optimal health... spiritual, emotional, mental and yes, physical health. Coinciding with a new decision to only eat food that is good for me, I've learned I will never build muscle and lose fat by just sitting around and going on the occasional walk outside (shocker). As my husband always says, you can only expect out of your body what you put into it. So I'm running. In addition to my regular gym routine, I'm learning endurance and a whole new level of cardio that is shocking my muscles like nothing really ever has before.
I've never liked running. It's always seemed like a huge chore when I could easily burn the same amount of calories by hanging out on an elliptical for a half hour. When seeing girls jogging around Seattle I'd shoot them brief looks of envy. Why was it so hard for me? Every step just seemed like a giant effort. But as I began to run more and more these past six months, I realized it was more of a mental battle than a physical one. If I started a run thinking about how hard it was going to be and how much I'd prefer to be eating a cupcake, it was a completely miserable experience. But if I started a run with a positive attitude and a goal to reach, it was much more feasible... and dare I say it, enjoyable. I am almost always able to push myself further than I think I can go. If truth be told, it's usually my mind that feels more tired than my body.
There are two things that make my runs more enjoyable, and they both come from my iPhone. The first is the Fun. Pandora station, believe it or not. It truly is the perfect mix of mellow and upbeat, and more often than not perfectly matches the rhythm of my running. When a quieter song comes on I will take a walk break extending the length of the song, and then get back to the grind when it's over. The second thing is the MapMyRun iPhone app, which records distance and calories burned, and saves my run for future review. It's a great way to set goals for yourself and then beat them: faster mph running time and actual distance.
Slowly but surely, I've come to enjoy running. It gives me a better workout than anything else, and if I go into my run accepting that it's not ideal but I want to do it, then I can. Another trick is running to a place I need to be, like the grocery store or a friend's house. It feels less pointless if I'm using the run as a mode of transportation. I'll often reward myself afterwards with a good long relaxing stretch session. Who knows, maybe training for a half marathon is in the not-so-distant future!
Thankfully, my runs just got a little easier thanks to these fresh kicks that my all-time favorite department store Nordstrom just sent over. These Nike Free TR 3 Breathe running shoes are literally the most comfortable things I've ever put on my feet, and they're so fun that they motivate me to go run more often. The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is only going on for four more days so make sure you score some new discounted stylish running shoes of your own!
What about you? Do you have a love-hate relationship with running? Found any tricks that make your runs easier? I'd love to hear your thoughts.