Hands up if you’ve always wanted to start running, but it's too hard. The excuses start coming in.
“I can't run!”
Intention is there - And you’ve bought a nice new pair of trainers, a new 2XU compression leggings…. and you’ve laid them out the night before, and yet it doesn’t happen the next morning.
I feel that running is like going to the dentist. I’ve had this mental block about dentists, some silly childhood traumatic experience, and embarrassingly I didn’t have the guts to voluntarily visit the dentist for like over 10 years till I was forced to as because of my wisdom tooth.
And it wasn’t that bad. And so running wasn’t that bad. And if I have a choice, I wouldn’t run, like I wouldn’t go to the dentist.
BUT, honestly it’s the easiest exercise ever. I put my shoes and out I go. I don’t have to travel to town to get to a yoga class nor do I have to dress up to go to the gym.
I have to stop my excuses and for once, listen to myself.
It’s putting one foot in front of the other, one at a time. Some days are easy, some days are hard. I stopped making excuses on rainy days or mornings when I can’t wake up, but running in the afternoons, in between classes. It’s hot but I love it because I get to get a tan at the same time. :)
When I first start running, I walked a lot. Because my feet hurt for a multitude reasons - flat feet, pronated; lower back compression which also affects my knee and my hips. So I couldn’t run long.
Then I went to see a podiatrist to get proper stability shoes for my flat feet. I also started wearing compression pants plus I go to a chiropractor every 2 weeks to minimise what the constant pounding running does to my spine.
Then the running became manageable.
Today, I’m pretty proud that I have been doing the 10K Shape Run and the Standard Chartered every year since then.
Post-run, my body don’t hurt that much now, which is a blessing. And I think it’s a combination of my weekly runs, proper running gear and my chiropractic treatments.
But I still don’t like running! lol
The starting is always the hardest and then making it a habit then takes a bit more effort. Here are tips I wished someone would have told me before I started running?
Sophie’s Tips on how to Start Running if you Hate running
1) Figure out your WHY
Why do you run?
For me: It is my moving meditation It is my only “fun” cardio I get to people watch. I get to listen to music when I don’t usually would. I run to condition my legs so they can hurt less and last longer.
AND I run NOT to - lose weight - get a better timing I’m not a competitive person. I just want to be healthy.
2) Invest in proper supportive running attire......
Especially if you have injuries or issues with your body!
I currently have 2 pairs of running shoes - the New Balance 860 and Asics 2000. I prefer the New Balance because it has a bigger toe box and I usually buy 2 sizes up. I bought my 2Xu leggings which I use only for my 10K runs. It feels like a sauna in the legs, but it is a lifesaver as it holds my muscles and joints in place.
My one bad investment was a pair of compression socks - oh gosh if you like sweating in your feet, then it’s yours. And not forgetting all those fashionable fancy shoes that hurt my feet. $$$$$$$
3) Run outside - it’s FREE!!
Stop making excuses that you don’t have a gym. The pavements are free.
I did start by running on treadmills, but it was so freaking boring, then I found a way to make it fun by doing these sprints. 3 mins warm up walk/jog 30 seconds sprint 90 seconds walk/jog
But then I started running outside and the one benefit of running outside is that I have no choice but to finish my run to get home. :)
4) Download #mapmywalk or #mapmyrun app
I track my run, not so much as to track the distance or the time I do it, but to me it's like a trophy, a little self-check in, that I’ve done it! Plus it reminds me of my routes so I can revisit/follow them in the future if I need to.
Ps. If you click on the highlighted names it'll bring you the iTunes App download page. There are tons of running apps out there, but these are the one I use. And its also available for Androids; just do a google search.
Also a friend of my mind recommended me an iTunes app called "Running for Weight Loss" Run, which is great if you prefer guidance when you run (it tells when to sprint/run/walk according to your running ability. I ran with her once; and it's so funny; one moment we were jogging easy, next minute, I got butt slap and poof she disappeared. It was good fun and made me work harder.
5) Walk the Run!
Running is a general term, you can definite walk (fast), or you can do an easy jog.
6) Schedule it!
Figure out when is your best time to run and put it in your calendar.
When I first started, I made a date with my running buddy every Wednesday night. And then when we got too busy, and I started running a long - I went running every Friday morning just round the block of my house. Now as I got "busier" i.e. I can't wake up early enough, I started running in the afternoon in between classes.
7) Set a Time rather than distance
We are all busy people. I know I am and I usually have a goal to finish my run within 20-30mins, so I can get on my day. By doing this, I got familiar with route, and I change it and try a different route when I feel like it. And when it comes closer to the my 10K run, I’ll then schedule a longer run (distance) to condition my legs.
8) Set a goal
Run the 5k shape run. . It gives you a goal to work towards. And if you give me a shout, I’ll join you for a morale boost. #callmeifyouareseriousbecauseIamserious
9) Run ALONE Vs Running Buddy
This - you have to figure out yourself which suits your best. I started running with my friends, and there are a lot running groups in Singapore that you can sign on to. I personally find running by myself works best for me. I can pick my own timing, my own pace, my own route. I don’t have the need to talk to that person, even if we stipulate that we will not talk. I won’t feel inadequate if that friend seems to be able to have a normal conversation, while I’m panting my pants off, or i make them run slow. And I can stop anytime I want to take a selfie!! HMMPH.
10) Have a conversation with your body while you run
I talk to myself all the time.
"ok, I will run for 8 lamp posts then I'll walk" ; "..till the bus stop/traffic light/park bench.” "Sophie - don’t stop. Put one foot in front of the other." "Don’t stop! Just Run slower"
11) Get some tunes on
Running is the only time when I get to listen to music, so yeah! I know of some people who listen to podcasts from their favourite gurus like Tony Robbins etc. And some just run without music. To each their own.
I I still don’t run that far. Weekly I just do 3-5K. And once or twice a year I run my 10K. That’s my limit. My furthest was 15K and after that I knew my body would not be able to go further with having any physical repercussions in the long run. I’m just happy with the fact that I started running, when I said I can’t.
My advice to you is just Start! Even if it's hard, trust me once you get your feet out the door, you'll feel much better for having ticked off that workout for the day! And even if it's a #startandstop kinda thing, which I am super familiar with - just START!
I got something special for you. Friends of mine who are avid runners, one an ex-triathlete shared with me their NO. 1 Tip for Running. They inspire me loads with their dedication to fitness and so here it is -
Have fun running!
REMINDER: Please remember to seek a doctor’s help if you have any illness or pain in the body before you start any exercise regime. And note I’m not an expert on running. So this is from my own experience.