Here are a few things I’ve learned since running consistently four days a week:
1. It’s so much easier to get out the door: I run in the mornings, before too many excuses can stop me. I wake up, drink some tea, eat something small (usually half a Clif Bar), put in my contacts, throw on my shoes and head out the door. The process takes about half an hour. It’s so much easier to motivate myself to go for a run now than it is to make myself go to the gym, since the gym involves actually going there. And since I’ve started a training regimen, I have something to hold me accountable.
2. There’s a “hill” in all runs: By hill I don’t mean the geographical ones. But there’s that really tough part of a run, that part when you’re so physically and emotionally tired and you want to quit so badly. My hill usually comes at about the 2.5/3 mile marker. If you can push through it, the run gets easier (maybe that’s called a “second wind”… I’ve heard that term but, honestly, I have no idea what it means). So when I’m half way through a run and I feel like I might actually die, I just remind myself that if I can push through for another half mile or so, it’ll get so much better.
3. Your mental state matters: According to science, the way you think about running effects your run. So stop talking about running negatively (“ugh, I have to run four stupid miles today”) and instead try to be that annoying person who’s excited about exercise (“Hello endorphin’s!”). Similarly, during your run, remind yourself how good it feels to finish, or if you’re the competitive type, how bad it feels to give up. I’m really bad at being positive about runs, but the more I stop myself from negatively talking about runs (and I literally will say “no, wait, I really like how I feel after a run, and it’s nice to get outside” after I say something negative) the better I actually feel about running.
4. Mantras!: Going off #3, having a mantra (or like, five) has been proven to help you run longer. If you start to feel tired or like you’re in danger of stopping, have a go-to mantra. It can be super supportive (“You’ve accomplished/survived X, you can do this!”) or more like that one mean coach we’ve all had at some point in our lives (“Stopping is not an option”). Mine are usually somewhere in between:”You can survive anything for X number of miles/minutes!” It can be a lie, it can be a cheesy song lyric, it can be stolen from Nike (no judgement), whatever helps you push through!