EEHealth shared in its Healthy Driven Blog that running has many benefits for physical and mental health. It helps in losing weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, building muscle, and keeping a positive mood.
So many good things come from running, but not everybody thinks it’s fun. And if you’re training for your first 5K or half-marathon, you may find the task of training to be daunting.
Here are 4 simple ways to make running fun:
- Find a purpose. Running is always more fun if you are running for something. If you’re training for a race, decide what you want to achieve. Is this your first 5K and your goal is simply to finish? Do you want to beat your friend who is also racing? Do you want to run a personal best? Your goal should be reachable and attainable. Some people decide to race for a loved one to raise money for a cause. This is a great way to motivate runners and keep it fun, because every time you lace up your shoes, you do it for a greater purpose.
- Don’t do it alone. Another way to make running fun is to buddy up. This can come in the form of training with a friend, neighbor, or family member. Many great conversations can take place on training runs. The social nature of running decreases anxiety and makes it more difficult to skip a training run. You may also consider joining a local running club with like-minded runners who meet on certain days and times. Also, get the family involved. Bring the kids on your run—have them ride their bikes while you run.
- Mix things up. Varying the intensity of your runs is another way to make running fun. Don’t always do the same distance run, at the same pace. That will get very boring quickly. The easiest way to vary your runs is to do a “fartlek” run once a week. This is a simple form of interval training in which you vary the speed of your run for certain distances within the run. It can be as easy as seeing a mailbox in the distance and deciding to run a little faster until you get there and then slowing down again. Repeat this many times throughout the run, with various distances of increased speed, and then return to your base pace.
- Go gadget-free. So many of us are fixated on our fitness trackers that we feel like we can’t leave the house without them. We are constantly looking at the gadget, trying to get feedback on our pace or distance. In doing so, we are disconnecting ourselves, in a way, from our activity. Try running simply for the joy of running. Connect with your own body and settle into your run. Let yourself be free. Feel the wind in your hair, the sweat on your face and the burn in your legs. Try running without your gadget at least once a week and see how good you feel.
To ensure safe running in hot weather, keep these precautions in mind:
- Opt for running in early morning hours or after the sun has begun to set.
- Drink enough water during the day to stay hydrated.
- Wear light-colored, synthetic fabrics that wick moisture from your skin.
- Wear sunscreen, protective eyewear and a hat/visor.
- Avoid speed work on especially hot days.
- Stop running if you feel dizzy, disoriented or abnormally hot or cold.
- Know the signs of heat stroke (e.g., confusion, delirium, hot and red skin) and seek medical care immediately.
Remember the fun of running isn’t over at the finish line. Continue the fun throughout the year. Make running a lifestyle choice. Happy trails!
Need help to meet your running goal? A fitness specialist can help you develop a fitness program that works for you.