If you are anything like me you were that kid that hated gym. I remember faking being sick, skipping class, or just complaining constantly to my friends. In fact, the only test I ever failed in my life was a written gym test. About the rules of tennis. Yes. I had to write a test in gym on TENNIS. Ugh.
At a certain point in my life though I realized I wanted to start working out more. For years I would spontaneously decide to run, always to end up discouraged and upset only to quit again.
It would always happen the same way. I'd pick up my sneakers one day, put on my fancy new shorts, grab my keys, and head out the door... only to admit defeat pretty soon after leaving. The pounding on the payment would hurt, my phone would be slipping from my hand, and after about 2 minutes I'd be exhausted and accept defeat.
This time though, I finally found out how to make running work for me, and now I can run a (albeit very slow) 5k.
As awful as running seems to be, it can be a low-cost way of getting exercise, reducing stress, and making you feel accomplished!
Here's how to start running:
1. Don't set the bar too high.
When you first start running, don't expect to run for 30 minutes straight o the first go, or try to run 10k right off the bat. Listen to your body and go out with no expectations but to just get some exercise.
2. Find out what keeps you motivated.
Love running to bass beats? Need an app to challenge yourself? Have a friend that makes running less awful?
Try different ways of making running something you want to do (or at least don't HATE to do). I personally listen to audiobooks while I run!
HINT: Your local public library likely has a way for you to "check out" audiobooks! Also C25K is a great app to keep you motivated, accountable, and on a schedule.
3. Speak kindly (to yourself).
There's nothing worse than hearing someone say you can't do it. Well, except for when it's coming from inside your own head. Telling yourself over and over again that you can't finish that run will ensure you give up and fail. Instead try giving yourself pep talks in your head! Tell yourself "I can do it," "My body is capable!" "I will finish this for myself!" and before you know it, you'll be surprised what you can accomplish when you believe in yourself!
4. Have good (or at least decent) gear.
No I'm not saying you need to buy $300 sneakers, but make sure you are comfortable. There's nothing worse than running and having your keys fall out of your pocket, or having pants that keep falling down.
On a budget? Try a local thrift shop or craigslist. Ask any of your friends if they have spare gear to borrow! Even dollar stores sometimes have arm bands for your phone or safety lights.
5. Warm up and stretch.
Do not forget to warm-up and cool-down before and after every run. It is part of taking care of your body, but it will also help to make the whole experience a lot better for you after. Of course you will end up being a little sore no matter what, but there is a difference between being slightly uncomfortable... and not being able to move from the couch.
6. Just keep moving.
Give yourself a schedule if that helps, or keep a change in your car and run when you have the time. Whatever works best for you, always keep running. Once you stop it'll be harder to start again. Even if you only go out for 15 minutes, the habit will still stay ingrained in your mind!
Above All Else...
If you STILL hate running (or if it's hurting you in any way), then find an alternative exercise that you do enjoy and makes sense for you!