7 Ways To Make You Enjoy Your Running
The other day one of my readers asked me a series of questions about running and how to enjoy it more. As you probably already know, and if you didn’t know you will now, this is one of my favorite topics. I am a long distance runner, to be more precise, since 2007.
I believe, from my experience, that running can and should be enjoyable and pain free. I know because my running transformed from painful to actually enjoying it.
So here are her 4 questions and my answers:
How to enjoy running?
This is a common question because so many of us run just to train for a race, to lose weight or for general health. Now, these are all good but let’s at least enjoy it if we dedicate so many hours for it. Try these tips:
1. Learn to relax. Relaxing when you run not only makes it a more enjoyable experience it actually saves a lot of pain and reduces the reduces the risk of injury.
2. Take your shoes off. You can run short distances (attention:risk of injuries) or just walk barefoot. This will not only change your routine, brining something new and different, it will also strengthen your foot muscles stabilizing that arch and again reducing the risk on some injuries
3. Don’t stick just to running. Alternate running with other sports. If you want you can choose a sport that compliments running such as playing squash, tennis or anything that requires power, change of direction or something similar. Personally I’d go with target shooting, rock climbing, hiking, these are the things I like to do that are not directly related to running, they’re like a reboot to the system
How to balance running fast and breathing?
Breathing while running is not very complicated once you find your own rhythm. So my personal rhythm is 2 breathes is and 2 out, on each step. This is the topic of another blog so I will not go into detail here.
Once you find your rhythm then you practice it at rest every single day. Furthermore you also practice other breathing techniques, daily, such as: linear, triangular, square etc.
Breathing will be discussed in my book coming out in March. It goes into a lot of detail. So keep an eye out for it. For now find and focus on breathing exercises and see these 2 blogs where I talk about the briefly: this one and this one
Should we push through discomfort to improve physical performance at the expense of enjoyment?
It all depends what type of discomfort we are talking about. If it’s muscle burn, lactic acid, then push through it. To reach a certain level of performance we need to get out of the comfort zone.
And this goes for everything in life, whether it’s sports or business or you are a student studying for exams or to get a scholarship. It’s the only way to progress, get out of our comfort zone.
So yes, sometimes, not all the time so you don’t start hating running, push through this type of discomfort at the expense of enjoyment. And if I have to me precise I’d say push hard every 4th-5th running specific session.
This also depends on your training program so it may not work for you. You need to leave time for recovery as the progress and adaptations occur not while training but up to 7 days after your session.
If the discomfort is caused by an injury, a mechanical discomfort, then I advise caution and no pushing through. See a doctor, physio or GP instead.
How can we be happy running if we want to improve performance?
So as before alternate your training, try different things that would increase your performance as a runner but not only through running. You will improve performance and when you do your running training you won’t feel it like a chore.
Here are some tips on how to increase performance but still love running:
1. Change of scenery. Don’t take the same route all the time. Don’t ever run in the same place all the time. Would be good if you went somewhere in the mountains, in the forests, beaches etc and change
2. Try different sports that will make you a better runner. Unlike the first example where I said you can do sports non-running related here they are related. Don’t limit your training only to running. So cycling, rope skipping, log dragging are other ideas.
3. Alternate running training methods. You have long distance running, short distance, sprinting, interval training, fartlek. You can wear a weight vest or ankle and wrist weights. Spice up your training.
4. Run and/or walk backwards. This will develop your hamstrings and spice up your training a little bit.
I hope these tips will help you in your particular running program. Try them out and come back with feedback.
As usual if you need to talk to me just book a free call and let’s look over your particular case.