This weekend I had the extreme pleasure of running the Virtual Run to the Row 8K. Why was it an extreme pleasure? Certainly not because it was another virtual race…I am definitely ready to get back to in-person racing when it is safe to do so! Nevertheless, it was an extreme pleasure because I got to run with my friend, Meg. Meg started running a year ago and it was super exciting to see how far she has come in the past year. We set out to run an 8K, just under five miles, and I followed her lead since she was in charge of the pace, the route, and the run/walk interval timing. In other words, I did nothing but show up! One of the great things about running behind Meg for 5 miles was seeing how much fun she was having! So many people tell me how much they hate running. As a matter of fact, they are really adamant about how much they hate running. However, while I was following Meg, I had time to think about what makes running fun. Here are five reasons people give for hating running and why (Meg and) I disagree:
It does not have to be. Switch up your routine—go somewhere you have never been before and consider running, walking or hiking as a way to explore the new area. If you usually run in the city, try a trail and get in touch with nature. Especially when we cannot travel far from home, running can be a great escape from the ordinary. As we ran our 8K today, Meg was listening to the soundtrack from Hamilton and having a fantastic time conducting her imaginary orchestra. I sometimes use the time on my long runs to catch up on my reading by listening to audiobooks
I hate huffing and puffing
I hate huffing and puffing too, and so does Meg. As a matter of fact, we try to avoid it as much as possible. That does not mean, however, that we have to avoid running. Just slow down. Really. It is possible to run slower and focus on controlled breathing. Make sure you are taking deep, long breaths and filling all the lobes of your lungs…not just your upper chest. And take long exhales too, making sure to expel all the used air from your lungs to make room for fresh air. Focus on your breathing and try to control it, rather than letting it control you.
It’s cold, icy, or wet outside
If a dangerous storm is coming through, that may not be the best time to be outside. Safety should always be your first priority. However, if we are talking about temperatures and weather conditions that are normal for your area—for example, it’s ALWAYS below freezing in the winter in Wisconsin—there are solutions. If you live in Wisconsin, for example, you could use an indoor treadmill during the winter. However, if (like me) you think the best part of running is being outside, there are solutions for that too, even in Wisconsin. If there is ice on the ground, consider winter traction devices that fit over your shoes such microspikes. Check out your local running store for gear and clothing specifically designed for cold and/or rainy weather in your area. If you do not have a running store near you, I highly recommend Seattle-based REI.com. They carry everything you need for any season, especially rainy and cold seasons. Check out my blog post on layering your clothing here. If you are still cold after layering your clothing and wearing a hat and gloves, try adding hand and foot warmers to help you stay extra toasty. There is something extremely satisfying about being dry and comfortable in spite of the weather conditions.
I don’t want to race
You do not have to race to be a runner. However, whether you are competitive or not, entering a race can do wonders for your motivation. Having a race goal, such as completing a 5K, can help motivate you to get you out the door day after day. Having a race goal that is different from what you usually do, like trying an obstacle course or trail race, can really spice up your running routine. Nevertheless, you do not have to race be a runner.
Pain is bad. When starting any fitness routine, you can expect some soreness as your muscles adapt, but you should not be experiencing regular pain or any sharp, acute pain. If you are experiencing regular pain, check with your doctor to rule out potential injury. Assuming you are not injured, the pain may indicate that there is an imperfection in your body mechanics. Learning to adjust your biomechanics–how your body moves–can help you run, walk and hike without pain and substantially reduce your risk of injury. If you would like to learn how to move your body the way it was intended to move–with comfort, ease, and bliss—I would like to invite you to join my new 3-week interactive virtual program, Bliss with Your Body. Learn more here.
Once you move past these common reasons not to run or walk or hike, you may just find that running, walking and hiking are great ways to
- Get yourself ready and pumped up for the day ahead
- Relax and unwind at the end of the day
- Add more joy to your life while improving your strength, stamina and well-being