How to Start Running

Who runs for enjoyment? Trick question, nobody. Okay, okay– surely there is some psychopath out there somewhere who just loves running eight miles in his or her free time. On the contrary, running is a great way to challenge yourself, whether that is losing weight to achieve a goal, getting in shape to build endurance for a sport, or competing for your PR (personnel record) in a race. Everybody runs for different reasons; however, these reasons all surround the idea of reaching a personal accomplishment to better yourself. The basic concept of running is easy: there are not many rules or objectives like there are in sports such as soccer or basketball, yet running itself is not easy at all, and perhaps the most difficult part of running is beginning. To start running, one must achieve the following: staying consistent, being positive, and finding enjoyment.
The key to succeeding in anything is to be consistent because unfortunately, improvement does not happen overnight. This is also true for running. If you want to be a successful runner, you need to hold yourself accountable and maintain self-discipline. The first run you go on will not be easy, but the hardest part comes when you have to do it again the next day. It is not that running becomes physically more difficult, but that your will to run again will begin to lessen. Once your initial desire to run peters out, it is harder to find the motivation to continue. Even though it may be difficult to motivate yourself, there are a variety of ways to find motivation including creating a weekly goal, leaving your favorite motivational quotes where you will see them on a daily basis, surrounding yourself with people who support you, etc. If you struggle to find motivation yourself, a great option is to watch motivational videos/movies or listen to pump-up music. These tips might sound lame, but they are a good option when you are desperate for inspiration to continue. Staying consistent does not mean you have to run every day right off the bat, but it does mean you need to have a running schedule, either running every other day or every week and then gradually increasing the rigor of your runs until you are where you want to be.
In addition to staying consistent, being positive is an important factor in running. Having a positive outlook and good attitude about running is harder than you think. For example, listening to runners talk about running is a good way to be informed and have a sense of camaraderie. To stay positive, you need to think differently. For instance, if you are dreading a run, remind yourself you are lucky–you do not have any physical disabilities or injuries that are holding you back. You can be super positive before a run, but then in the middle of a run, you can become very negative and doubtful. Believe it or not, you can trick your mind. If you keep thinking about how you are out of breath, how your legs hurt, how tired you are, or how bad your runner’s cramps are, you are more likely to give up. On the other hand, if you tell yourself something as simple as just keep going, you can do this, or I feel good, you will have a greater chance of completing your run. As cheesy or simplistic as it might be, it actually works. You just have to believe what you are saying is true even if you are hurting and do not feel it.
And last but certainly not least, you need to be able to find enjoyment in running. The topic of enjoyment is rare to discuss when referring to running, but if you are going to become a good runner, you need to enjoy it. A lot of times running will be hard and not fun and finding enjoyment in something as tortuous as running will feel impossible, but it is possible. For running to be enjoyable, you need to make it fun. The best way to enjoy running is to find people to run with you. You can have a friend, sibling, or teammate go on runs with you to keep you company (or ride a bike beside you). Another way to find enjoyment is to take easy days. It is no secret that easy days are the most fun, but they are important. Take the time to enjoy being outside and in nature on your easy runs. The most enjoyment in running comes afterwards though; the feeling of accomplishment after a challenging run is one of the best feelings. Another notably enjoyable part of running is being able to consume a lot of calories without guilt because running itself burns a lot of calories.
Overall, running comes from a person’s own determination and will to succeed. You may have strong feelings against running and to this I will reply it is not for everyone. It is for those who are willing to continually work hard and push themselves to the limits and for those who want to commit to something challenging. Anyone can be a great runner if they want to be.