I have to be honest: while there are days when running is exhilarating and I get into “the zone”, there are other days when running feels like drudgery and just a chore I need to do. So how do you make sure you enjoy every mile of your run regardless of how fast you’re going or how good you’re feeling?
Here are ways that you can enjoy your run:
I find that running with someone always helps lighten the load. Whether with chatter or companionable silence, having a running buddy or a group makes the miles fly by. This also has the very positive effect of encouraging you to show up for a run session because someone’s counting on you to be there. So, find someone who can be this person for you! It will make running a lot easier for you and your friend – and make the time fly by.
When going solo, running with music helps! According to research done on the effects of music on exercise, music can distract you from the discomfort of exercise, increase your desire to move, and can make you move in time to the beat. Faster-tempo music has also been shown to motivate people to exercise harder. And of course, listening to music you like is pleasurable in itself. My advice is to find out which type of music motivates you on your run and make a long playlist to keep your motivation at an all time high.
Conversely, you can shut off the music, turn off the gadgets, and treat running as meditation, an exercise in mindfulness. Staying in the present moment listening to your breathing and letting thoughts positive or negative just pass through can be done whether you’re sitting quietly cross-legged or jogging through the city. Focusing on the sensations of your body moving, the smell of the air you’re breathing, the sights around you, and how your body is responding to exercise keeps your mind from wandering and worrying. Acceptance of what your body on that particular day is capable of performing, and not watching your speed or distance or time on your watch is also very freeing.
Lastly, run in places you enjoy. Treadmills are great at getting the job done, but nothing beats running outdoors where you can see the world go by. Find a new running route, or frequent your favorite one. When the sights on your route are something you look forward to, it makes getting out the door much easier. Maybe you love the loop in your neighborhood because it allows you to see your other friends out running. Maybe you can find that view of the sea another runner once raved to you about. Running is a good way to see the world, so try out a new place each week to enjoy your next run.
Every day out running is different, but what matters is the attitude you take towards your run. When you’re determined to enjoy yourself no matter what, you will definitely enjoy every step of every mile.