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5 Ways to Make Running More Fun

There are two types of people in this world: those who live and die to run, and those who would rather die than go running.

For women who’ve spent a lifetime wanting to curl up at even the mere mention of the word “running” but are determined to give it a go at this stage in life, here are a few things to try to get motivated.

Meditate Beforehand

It may sound a little silly, but being focused can really help with any kind of fitness. “Being mindful of your body and breathing increases the overall efficiency, making the exertion more smooth and comfortable, which will increase your overall enjoyment,” says Ryan McCann, run coach at Mile High Run Club in New York City, founder of Cool Fit Club, and D1 track-school record holder at Duke University.

Get Good Shoes

You might not be a pro runner, but if you’re going to do any amount of running, you need to invest in the right shoes. Running in shoes that have years of wear and tear on them (even if you just wore them around town) or shoes that weren’t built for running can really harm your body. Good shoes will support your feet, knees, and hips as you take to the pavement, not to mention that “feeling comfortable with every step is an easy way to empower yourself,” says McCann. Not sure what to buy? Find a running shop near you and get an assessment of your stride and suggestions about the best shoes for you.

Running When You Hate It

Join a Group

Going at it alone on the treadmill can quickly have you counting down the minutes on the “dreadmill.” Running can be more fun when it’s social. “Sharing the miles makes for way more smiles,” says McCann. “Plus, the accountability keeps you consistent, and the social engagement can help make the miles feel like a celebration of something special.”

Keep a Journal

Progress and achieving a goal are the highest forms of motivation. “It’s all about cultivating the practice, and a journal is a great way to reflect on the run; record your progress and changes in your body; and remember the experience, the agony, the ecstasy, and everything in between,” says McCann.

Find a Happy Place

No matter what town or city you’re in, whether you’re home or traveling, find a place outside that you love. “If water brings you peace and tranquility, run by the water,” says McCann. “Your sensory experience and overall enjoyment on the run depend immensely on your surroundings.”

“For many people, running is as simple as just lacing up and doing it, with relative ‘ease,’” says McCann. But, he explains, that all comes with practice. “You have to develop a mindfulness alongside the toughness, as well as a laser-sharp focus on biomechanics and breathing,” says McCann. “You learn to listen to your legs and lungs, and manage the run accordingly. And, of course, you should also always at least be trying to have fun.”

Photos: lofilolo, oscarhdez

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