by Coach Jenni Nettik
Did you make a new year’s resolution to get fit? Are you taking Mark Zuckerberg’s challenge to run 365 miles this year? Do you have a spring race on your calendar? It’s January so you’re probably still pretty motivated, but how are you going to keep that enthusiasm the entire year? Try falling in love with running.
Tips to Help You Love Running:
1. Stay in the Moment
When coaching new runners, I’m often asked how to achieve the runner’s high. For me, time vanishes when I get a runner’s high. How can you make that happen? Stay in the moment. Clear your mind, I know, easier said than done. Try clearing your mind by picking one element of running or the environment to meditate on.
- Standing tall
- Landing lightly
- Observe the shadows
- Listen to the sounds around you
When an outside thought sneaks in, acknowledge it, and then redirect your thoughts back to your focus.
2. Escape . . .
Time and time again, runners tell me they use running as way to escape and process life, the opposite of staying in the moment. Different runs, serve different purposes. As an artist, I sometimes use my runs to generate new ideas, or solve difficult pieces. While training for my first marathon, I created over 60 paintings to document the process.
Things to do while running:
- Listen to an audiobook or podcast
- Jam out to your run playlist
- Process a thought or project that’s weighing on your mind
- Socialize with friends
Running can be therapy, “me” time or even happy hour.
3. Set a Goal
Take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Goals are essential to staying motivated. They guide your training and keep you lacing up and challenging yourself even when that voice in your head says otherwise. A goal can be something as simple as run three to four times a week. It can be more specific like run the Napa Valley Half Marathon. Or a goal can get really detailed like qualify for Boston. It’s best to have multiple layers of goals to prevent yourself from getting discouraged. Remember, things don’t always go according to plan.
A good set of goals for this winter could be:
- Improve fitness
- Train three to four days a week
- Complete the Colfax Marathon
- Qualify for Boston
- Run a 3:15 marathon
Give yourself lots of opportunities to pat yourself on the back.
This fall I went trail running with my two year old nephew, he ran down the the path screaming at the top of his lungs, he loved running. Why? He was playing! How can you bring that same joy to your own runs?
- Leave your watch at home
- Don’t plan a route, wander
- Run in a new place and explore
- Be an artist, use your watch or a running app to draw a picture or write a message
- Hit the trails, run through thigh deep snow, jump over (fall into) a stream, slide down an icy hill.
Most importantly, have fun.
5. Take Care of Yourself
If you want to enjoy running, you’ve got take care of yourself. For me, that means a bulk box of hand warmers for winter runs. What’s holding you back? How can you fix it?
Ways to take care of yourself:
- Do you get cold? Purchase running tights, wool socks or ski mittens
- Are you afraid of falling on ice? Get a pair of trail shoes or Yaktrax
- Is your mileage making you stiff? Stretch, get a massage, or take a yoga class
- Does running make you knees, feet or back hurt? Hire a coach and improve your form
- Are you nervous about running alone? Join a running group
- Are struggling with an injury? Visit a Physical Therapist
Sometimes running requires more than a pair of shoes.
6. Find Your Community
People often say, “I run, but I’m not a runner.” The beauty of running is that people of all different ages, sizes, shapes and speeds run. Seek out a community of runners that will support and cheer you on.
- Join a running club, there are a million: HTB Run Club, Runners Roost Run Club, Gociety, Meetup
- Find a coach or training group: Mercuria Running, Team in Training, Revolution Running
- Follow an online magazine, blog or forum: Runner’s World, Hungry Runner Girl, WomensRunningCommunity, GreenEventsColorado
Call yourself a runner!
What makes you love running?