Abhor. Despise. Detest. Loathe. All of these words summed up my feeling towards running my whole life. I was never good at it. I was slow (and I mean slooowwww), achy, out of breath and have even puked during sports practices. I was convinced I was not a runner and I would never be one and that was okay. Six years ago when I first started my journey to becoming healthy I never thought I would be a runner, let alone enjoy it. But in the past year I have added 5-7 mile runs to my weekly routine and I just completed my first triathlon last month. I still can’t believe that running has become something that I WANT to do and that leaves me feeling invigorated. Wanna know how I went from loathing running to loving it? Read below.
1-Small steps. When I first started regularly exercising and being conscious about nutrition about 6 years ago, I started adding running to my routine little by little. And I mean little. For the first 3 months I didn’t run two feet, and then I started adding it bit by bit in to my circuit training. Do 10 push ups and run a lap. Do squats and go run the stairs. Anywhere I could fit it in, I did. And eventually I found that it just became easier over time.
2-Rewarding myself. Whenever I added running into a workout, I would set small goals and challenges for myself. Can I keep going until the end of this song? Can I make it to the next mile marker? By reaching these milestones I rewarded myself with pride, confidence and the motivation to keep working at it. I made my reward something other than food. A new kitchen accessory, a night out with friends, a pedicure. Notice I didn’t mention any chocolate cake or downing 8 beers at a ball game? Setting small goals and rewarding myself with more motivation and determination only fueled me to keep going. Need a deadline? Sign up for a 5K that donates to a charity so you feel like you should continue for a purpose.
3-I listened to myself. I went running when I wanted to and didn’t go when I really didn’t want to. Taking the pressure off to HAVE to do it made it more enjoyable. When I didn’t want to run I went dancing, kickboxing, pilates, hiking, walking, strength training or any other sort of exercise. There are still days when I don’t feel like running and I don’t and there are other days where I push myself to get started and I feel amazing afterwards. It’s about listening to what your mind and body are telling you and finding a balance that works for you.
4-I found an outdoor trail that I loved. Actually, I found several. It was motivating to run through the rolling hills at the local park and watch the trees change with the seasons. Running in nature is invigorating. I found that skipping the treadmill kept me at a quicker pace and developed my endurance much faster due to the stability needed for uneven surface. Obviously, heading into winter this will not be an option for everyone, but get it where you can.
5-Download your favorite bad ass songs to a motivation music list. We all have those songs. The ones that you can’t help but dance, walk or run a little faster to and that make you feel like a bad ass. Missy Elliot, Biggie & Jay-Z have gotten me through some rough miles. I have been experimenting with not listening to music and it is so much tougher for me. I always run with one of my ears exposed to my environment so I can hear cars, bikers, other runners, etc.
Since making running a part of my regular routine a year ago and adding coached sprint sessions I have cut down my timed mile by 2 full minutes. This is something that I am extremely proud of considering my running history. I have no plans to run a marathon in the near future, or even the distant future. I run because I like to, it’s free and super low maintenance. Plus, it led me to explore new cities where I was living.
*Okay readers I am by no means an an expert on these matters and am only giving my personal account and experience, so please see a trainer or doctor before pounding the pavement all crazy-like and pullin’ a hammie.
**I did not include a glamour running shot where I am glistening & sexy sweaty with a hue of pink on my cheeks. This is a sweaty, dirty, almost finishing triathlon running shot. P.S. that is water on my shirt from dumping it on my head. I don’t get that sweaty!
Now for the best part about exercising, the food you eat after! After working hard and building up an appetite, food tastes that much better. Peep this vegan protein smoothie to help you recover.
Ingredients 6 frozen figs (I find these at Trader Joe’s) Blend ingredients until smooth. Pour into a bowl and top with a mix of oats, seeds & nuts. *If you use natural protein powder, add 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Top with any or all of the following: pistachios
Vanilla fig blueberry protein smoothie bowl
1/2 c. frozen blueberries
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (or natural flavor)
1 handful of spinach
1 1/2 c. almond milk
1 tbsp. flax seeds
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
A pinch of salt
dried (or fresh) figs
6 frozen figs (I find these at Trader Joe’s)
Blend ingredients until smooth. Pour into a bowl and top with a mix of oats, seeds & nuts.
*If you use natural protein powder, add 1 tsp. vanilla extract.
Top with any or all of the following:
I also made this into a smoothie parfait, layering smoothie with oats, nuts, coconut and more smoothie.