FIVE Tips & Tricks To Becoming A Runner

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In my personal blog (also published weekly and available for subscription here), I recently wrote a post called “24 Things I’ve Learned In 24 Years” and “how to run” came in as number 14 on the list. 

Say what? You learned how to run? Meaning you didn’t know how to run before…?

By all mechanical and kinesthetic definitions, yes, I knew how to run, but it wasn’t until a couple years ago in training for my first half marathon that I really learned how to just run

I don’t do halfs on the regular or anything, and this Louisiana heat has definitely had me reconsidering my cardio choices, BUT— I can honestly and proudly say that I very much enjoy running these days. 

This was not always the case, however, and it’s not the case for most of us, either.

Running, for whatever reason, is one of those things you just want to like but can’t seem to get into, like wheat grass shots or straight up espresso. I want to love you, but I’m just not quite there…

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If you’ve felt that way about running, read on, friend! I’ve got FIVE tips to help you become the runner you’ve always (or never?) wanted to be.

1. Have realistic expectations and be nice to yourself, dangit. 

ESPECIALLY if you’re just beginning! Don’t lace up your shoes, tie up your hair, pop in your ear buds and expect to run non-stop for 30 minutes. Like with everything, there’s a learning curve, dude. You’ve got to learn to run. Set realistic expectations, and also give yourself the freedom to WALK— something I used to never do and would feel super guilty about when I reached that point of fatigue. 

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2. Eat, drink and be fueled. 

You wouldn't expect your car to keep running without any gas, so how can you expect your body to perform on “E”? I’d say 90% of the time I have “bad” runs (no run is really “bad,” just some are faster or more enjoyable than others), it’s due to dehydration and malnourishment. It’s pretty easy: eat ya carbs/fats and drink ya water. Or Propel, Gatorade, Crystal Light.. WHATEVER— just be hydrated and fueled, otherwise you’re guaranteed to burn out and will likely proceed to beat yourself up about how terrible you are at running and feel super discouraged and probably not go running again for a week or so and then continue to beat yourself up and YIPPEE for that cycle nawhatimean?

3. Map your route. 

If running sponsorships were a thing, I’d beg this website for a sponsorship because I’d promote the mess out of them. onthegorun.com has been my buddy, my pal, my savior, my go-to wingman when it comes to planning my running routes. I get sick of the same route after about, oh, I don’t know, ONE time through, so I’m constantly trying to change my courses. This handy dandy little tool that probably exists in 1,000 different forms I’ve yet to discover lets you drag and drop points on a map so that you can pre-determine your mileage before you begin your run. Give it a shot and get as obsessed with it as I am. 

4. Track your runs. 

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Another tool and app that I’d 100% be a great brand ambassador foris Map My Run— an UnderArmor affiliated app that I use to log my runs. I’m definitely interested in things the app tracks, like mile by mile pace, average pace, calories burned, distance, route, etc., but another thing I love about using Map My Run is the accountability and record keeping factor. Being able to scroll back and see my runs from 3 weeks ago— even a year ago!— is the coolest thing. TALK ABOUT PROGRESS, y’all, and it’s also a huge self-confidence boost to see just how many miles these little leggies have taken me.

5. Listen to a podcast. 

Sure, music is awesome and I totally used to jam out for a couple miles and enjoy that, but I find personally that after 10 or 15 minutes or music, I’ve
a) been keeping track of how many songs have played and therefore how many minutes I’ve been running
and
b) lost motivation/interest in continuing.

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I prefer a nice 30-40 minute podcast (or a couple back-to-back depending on how long I’m going) because I have NO clue how many minutes have passed AND because it gives me something to really participate in and interact with while salty sweat adorns my eyelashes and piles onto my upper lip. #Cute

I also use running as a form of meditation and “pause” from my day, so listening to a soulful podcast or educational discussion really fuels my mind and leaves me feeling so refreshed and positive at the end of my run. 

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What are your go-to running tips?

I’ll take any and all advice because I truly feel that I’m still learning about this whole “running” thing everyday! I hope these help you out in some way and that at the very least, you find a way to look at running through a new lens and discover a new appreciation for it.