By Kelly Morrison
According to Running USA, more than 42 million men and women across the country participate in running and jogging. The running industry annually rakes in over $3 billion in running shoes alone.
– tried and failed to stick with running
– are trying to drop a few pounds by picking up jogging
– just don’t want to pay the exorbitant gym membership and think running outside would be cheaper,
then here are 5 easy ways to make running fun, instead of a horrible experience.
1. Get the Gear
Believe it or not, the right kind of running shoes really make a difference. Why do you think the running industry is making a fortune? Everyone runs differently and a shoe that fits your personal running style will make all the difference. If you run in an old pair of gym shoes or that cheap pair you picked up because they were on sale, you’re more likely to drop running because of the injuries you’ll incur. Start out strong and visit a running store, which will find your Cinderella-magic-slipper-running-shoe.
2. Stay Away from the Treadmill
While treadmills are tempting for new runners, it’s best to steer clear. Treadmills can hurt your ankles and knees due to the hard surface. Further, there’s no view. There’s no real enjoyment or variety from staring at the same piece of gym wall while you try to rack up your miles. For a change of pace, try running outside or on trails if they are convenient to your location. The different views will encourage you to focus on your running and changing the trails will make you want to keep running.
3. Watch an Inspirational Movie/Book
Cheesy, yes, but there are tons of books and movies about running, and focus on both track and cross country. While the activity of sitting down to read or watch does not involve running, it’ll get your adrenaline pumping to watch the runner cross the finish line or slice a mile time down. The ending will get you inspired to join the world of running. For suggestions, check out anything about Steve Prefontaine.
4. Find a Buddy
The buddy system can be a great running tool. If you can find a buddy with the same running pace as you, you can challenge each other to up the pace or the mileage. If you are the slower of the pair, your buddy can be your competition until you reach their level. The best option is to find someone who is already a runner, who can give you tips about warm-ups, cool-downs and form. Any way you choose, a running buddy will encourage you to get off the couch and go out to run—you wouldn’t want to be the bum of the buddy system, would you?
5. Use Your Phone
If you have a smartphone, it can be your best friend while running. First, create a kick-ass playlist with inspirational, angry, and upbeat songs and listen to it on shuffle. After you start running, change up your playlist to add new life to your routine. Next, check out the app store—it’s overflowing with running/fitness apps, such as the Nike+ Running app which can pace you, time you, challenge you and even has motivational sayings.
Is running fun? Debatable. However, once you get a routine going and once you start getting out there every day, it’s addictive. Why? Because it’s cheap and you can run anywhere. Before long, you’ll be buying out the apparel in the running section of the closest sporting goods store.
Kelly E. Morrison is a graduate student at George Mason University, pursuing her Master’s degree. She was born and raised in Virginia, where she still resides with her boyfriend and pup. She enjoys chocolate, reading (somewhat) trashy romance novels and sitting around in her pajamas.