8 ways to make running more enjoyable

Whenever I’m asked about my marathon training, I’m usually greeting with responses of “you’re crazy for doing that” or “I could never…”But the thing is, I strongly believe anyone can be a runner + it’s not some talent passed down to a select few.

Running for me is what you would call an “acquired taste.” Growing up, I was not a fan + would come up with every excuse in the book to avoid it, particularly in long distances. Ironically enough, here I am training for my second marathon and loving every minute of it. Trust me when I say I am by no means a pro, I’m just your average beer-drinking girl who enjoys going out, having a great time + running 26.2 miles on the side.

After many fruitless attempts at convincing friends to join in on the fun, i’m here today to take a more formalized approach + dish on the 8 things you can do to get in the running game {+ fall in love with it in the process}.

ONE// Get the gear. Proper running shoes are incredibly important to prevent damage to your legs that could keep you off the trail. I swear by ASICS + have avoided all types of injuries since using them thus far. While they can cost a pretty penny, buying them in last year’s model or on discount sites can make them much more affordable.

TWO// Register for a race. It could be a 5k or a 50k; having something to train for makes all the difference for me. Without something to work towards, I find it ever-so-easy to make excuses to avoid a run. Even better, pick a themed one to start, such as The Zombie Run or The Rock ‘n’ Roll Series.

THREE// Bring the beats. Sadly enough, a running playlist can make or break my workout. I tend to stick to really upbeat tunes to keep my heart-rate up {think electronic/dance hits}. Investing in Spotify Premium was the best choice + has keep my running tunes current + fresh {not to mention, it’s fun to swap playlists with my friends}.

FOUR// Go gradual. Making my way up to 20+ mile runs has been years in the process. I’ve been following Hal Hidgon training programs for all my races for years. The programs are designed to slowly introduce more miles into your routine in a way that’s safe for your body. For tracking these miles, MapMyRun is a great {+ free} app that I use to track distance, pace & more.

FIVE// Fuel properly. Looking back on my college years, it’s slightly terrying to think what I would consume before {+ after} a workout. As I’ve introduced more miles into my routine, I’ve found that nutrition makes all the difference. Bananas are my favorite pre-run food that are easy on the stomach + have the added benefit of preventing muscle cramping. When it comes to “carbo-loading” before longer distances, sweet potatoes + avocados are my go-to. Lastly, chocolate milk is my pick for a post-run recovery snack.

SIX// Stretch. This was probably my latest thing I learned. I spent years hobbling around after long runs, sore and vowing I needed to take a few weeks off. Even just five minutes of basic leg stretches following a run have completely eradicated any soreness I feel the next day.

SEVEN// Set the scene. Whether that be grabbing a buddy, or picking a gorgeous trail to tackle, put yourself in the most ideal running conditions possible. You’ll be much more inclined to stay outside if you have good conversation, or a stellar lakefront view to keep you entertained along the way.

EIGHT// Treat-yo-self. Training is hard-work + your body should be rewarded accordingly. Let yourself have that doughnut or late night pizza slice. The less I deprive my body of the occasional indulgence, the more I stay on track when it comes to training + fueling for the race longterm. Not to mention a cold brew tastes all the better after pounding a few miles on the pavement.

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    @sarahakoller