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Step by Step... Run by Run

A Guide to Running Outdoors

Photo by Francesco Gallarotti on Unsplash

Every step you take... every move you make... (I hope this song is in your head the rest of the day :) like it has been in mine).  

Running can be a challenge. This is especially true for those who think they hate running. 

In high school, I used to hate having to run for sports. I was already a part of the sport, so why would I need to run too? I remember the agony and slumped shoulders like, really? Do I have to?!

It wasn't until I decided to run my first half marathon that I realized running can be relaxing. Sometimes, it is easy to have the mentality that running will just mean getting a workout in fast and easy. 

I used to have this mentality as well. Working out was required, and it was not necessarily desired. 

Now, I crave a good run. It is the easiest way to clear my head, pound out the pavement, and get my heart rate increased. 

When I say step by step... run by run... one way to get yourself to enjoy a good run is by doing it HIIT style. This means that you walk or jog for a certain amount of time, run for a certain amount of time, and repeat this for as long as you want/as far as you want. 

Personally, I really enjoy doing a 20 minute HIIT run. On the treadmill, I average a walking pace of 4.5 and an average running pace of 8. I keep my walking pace at 4.5 and then I increase by an interval of 0.5 every minute. This is challenging as it is very fast paced, but I get the best workout this way. If you are just beginning this journey, I suggest starting out at a lower base run pace of 6.5/7, as this will be fast enough to begin with. 

Doing this outdoors is just as easy. You can use the Runkeeper app that lets you choose a workout and also gives you audio updates. If you are also someone who is training for a 5k, 10k, half marathon, or full marathon, there are training programs for you to choose from on this app as well. I have found that Runkeeper works best for me, but you can check out Nike Run Club, Runtastic, or any of the other apps to track your run too. Find what works best for you and what motivates you the most!

The best way to run, especially if you are starting out, is to run outdoors. There is something so soothing about being one with nature while clearing your head. There are so many places you can run and explore. 

Take the time to research different trails or running spots in your location. Also, if you're in the midwest, a great place to run is by a lake. In the summer, the breeze comes off the water and creates the perfect temperature for running. Something you do not want to take for granted.

Another rule of thumb I follow: during the summer, run in the morning, and during the spring/fall, run in the evening to enjoy the sunsets. 

I guarantee that being outdoors will help you start your adventure to enjoying running. 

My personal journey of training for two half marathons made me an individual who sees the bigger picture. When you take your first stride, you realize how small you are in a world that is so big. Your tiny footprint has ran where others have before, and yet, you are the only one seeing that location through your eyes. 

This striding, that can sometimes be grueling, also made me realize how important having good tennis shoes is, but overall, it made me see my surroundings in a new light. 

Step by step... run by run... I believe I am bettering myself as a person. I feel better, and I am more open to what life has to offer. 

It may just be because I see the sun, clouds, grass, neighborhood, and pavement in a new light, but it also might be the physical "letting go" as well. Running will always be an outlet for me to relieve stress and feel my best. 

You should try it too. Even if you cannot run, take a walk outside. Breathe in the fresh air. Be safe while doing so, as we all know in light of recent situations we need to always be alert, but let go of your day and be one with yourself. 

I bet you'll love it. 

If you're looking for a route, or want to switch up your normal route for a new one, you can find one that others may have taken if you just check down below for your city and desired mileage! 

USATF - America's Running Routes
Run It. Map It. Share It. - A Database of America's Running Routes. Map and measure your favorite running routes and save them to the country's largest searchable database of running routes so others can run them.
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