5 Tricks To Help Running Actually Be... FUN!

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By: @janelletking 

So I’m a runner. I don’t run far or fast but I still enjoy a good run nonetheless. My first introduction to the sport came more than 15 years ago during the summer I spent in Boston completing an internship. I was a young and broke, unable to afford the outrageous gym membership prices. I was living near Boston University at the time where running along the Charles River was the norm. I was desperate for physical activity so I figured, why not?  My very first run; I crashed and burned. My lungs hurt, my legs were sore, and I thought to myself people really do this for fun? But I kept at it and my love for the sport deepened but I’ve also realized that there are certain necessities critical to helping you go the distance.

HERE'S HOW I SLAY MY RUNS

Dope Beats

This is a no-brainer. Although I love taking in the scenery around me, nothing helps to push me through a tough run better than a dope playlist. If your running goal is to increase speed, consider loading your playlist with fast tempo tunes. A 2016 study found that running to up-tempo music helped to increase speed without appearing to be more intense #issawin. Since I’m from “The 6” and of Jamaican heritage, you’ll always find Drake, rap/hip hop, and of course, 90’s dancehall tunes on heavy rotation on my iPhone.

Hot (and Comfortable!) Kicks  

Nothing’s worse than being half a mile into your run when you start to experience nagging foot pain. Your foot will endure 15,000 strikes, at a force of three to four times your body's weight during a 10-mile run, so proper shoe selection is crucial. You should select your kicks based on your foot structure, body type, running environment and, running regimen.

If your feet over-pronate like mine, a running shoe that provides cushioning and support can make the difference between a personal best and an abrupt ending to your workout. I’m partial to Asics GEL Kayono’s.  I’ve been wearing these lightweight yet supportive trainers for a number of years. Truthfully, they’re kinda expensive but you can put a price on pain-free running.

Run Those Streets

I’m from the Great White North, but I hate being cold. My personal rule is not to run when the temperature is below 32 degrees, and I thought moving to Atlanta with its subtropical climate would give me the opportunity to run outside year-round #whyisitsocold.

A new city means discovering great parks and trails against a backdrop of picturesque scenery (Sidenote: I’ve only been in the city 6 months, let me know the best places to run in ATL in the comments). Running outdoors prevents boredom while providing new physical challenges.  I mean seriously, what’s better than a high-calorie burn workout in the fresh air?

All I do is Win

I admit it—logging mile after mile, day after day can become a little monotonous. So why not participate in road races or fun runs to switches things up? There are so many events to choose; from bubble runs to marathon, there are events to satisfy every interest and activity level.  I completed my very first (and only) half marathon back in 2012. The experience of running through streets with the crowd cheering me on at every mile was an invigorating and only helped to deepen my appreciation for the sport. Try it out—it can have a huge impact on your running performance and your outlook.   

Go Best Friend

Running can be a lonely and isolating sport—why not call a friend and invite them out for a run? This is a great way to catch up, and the miles will just fly by! Working full-time, being a mom, and a wife, it can be hard to find time to hang out with my curlfriends. I often schedule weekend run dates with my tribe giving us the chance to socialize while keeping me accountable for reaching my running goals.

Just Keep Running

Running is a tough both mentally and physically, and not everyone enjoys the challenge. I encourage you to keep at it, find your grove and next time you lace up, try out a few of the tips. It can only help to make your running game stronger and dare I say it… maybe even a little fun.

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About The Author

Janelle T. King, MPH, BSN, RN is a Registered Nurse, public health expert and recent Atlanta transplant. Janelle holds a Master's degree in Public Health from the University of Toledo and a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing from Capital University. She also holds a Bachelor of Human Kinetics and has expertise in wellness, fitness and, disease prevention. She loves to be active you can find her working out or running when she is not spending time with her husband and 3 year old daughter.

FitnessElizabeth Dickerson