Perhaps the “I hate running” rhetoric is playing in your mind right now. You aren’t alone. Me too, that is, until I’m done running. That’s where the magic lies. Those post-run feelings are so valuable to me that the run is now non-negotiable. Waiting to love running won’t get you running. Loving how you feel after your run will.
Start slow, start short, and savor how the smallest increase from not running to running a mile can change your mood. Try to make your first few runs successful by keeping the goal (pace, distance) tangible and attainable. Since I enjoy distance more than speed, I keep my pace slower as I increase distance. If you crave speed, flip it. Stick to a certain distance and focus on increasing your pace.
Before embarking on your jaunts, make sure you pay attention to footwear. There are enough places we can go (Santa Cruz Running Company, Sports Basement, Road Runner Sports, Athletic Performance) that give you a personalized assessment to find a shoe that supports your sole. We want as much comfort as possible when doing something that can be uncomfortable. Socks, clothing, water bottles, monitors can wait. Consider shoes your biggest investment.
Keeping your muscles, tendons, and ligaments strengthened and stretched will benefit how you feel and how you perform. Plus, it can be a nice way to wind down from your run and let your body know you are supporting it as it supports you. Here’s a few go-to’s:
Strengthens quadriceps, aligns knees, builds leg endurance.
Strengthens core, stabilizes shoulders, activates back body. Progress to side planks to activate side body/obliques.
Strengthens calves and improves ankle mobility
Superman(arms extended) or Ironman(arms at your side)
Strengthens back extensors, helps correct postural imbalances, supports core engagement.
Improves hip mobility and hip flexibility. Progress to bands above the knee or weighted clam shells to incorporate hip strength.
Keep in mind you will be asking more of your body while running. It may talk back to you in its gentle way and ask for what it needs in return, perhaps more hydration, more fuel, more rest, and more of those post-running magical moments. Enjoy the running path you choose.