This morning I logged another 5 miles before the sun came up. In the beginning of my running journey, it took me a while to fall in love with it. There are still somedays that I have to convince myself to go but I’m NEVER disappointed that I went. It only took me a few runs to love running in the morning!
Today is #4 in my saga of how to love running. Here’s the other days if you missed them:
How To Be A Runner #1
How To Be A Runner #2
How To Be A Runner #3
1. Of Course there’s apps for that!
There are all sorts of running apps out there. Depending on what you are looking for, there’s definitely an app for that. There are apps for: pacing, routes, tracking, planning and even Zombie Chasing. I’m only going to suggest the ones I know about but I’m sure there are hundreds.
Nike – This is where I track all my miles. I love the Nike app because it’s the same every time. I know where I’m going to click over my miles if it is a familiar route. With this app you can set it to tell you how far you’ve gone, or not. When you are running, it can post to social media for you and when anyone clicks the like button it makes a cheering sound! It also has cool photo features at the end of your run. It has coaching settings and can even sync with your music but I haven’t explored those features much. It pauses as soon as I stop and can even pause if you get a phone call. I used to use MapMyRun but I found it to be less accurate to the routes and has a lot less features.
Couch to 5K – I have a lot of friends that have used this app. It is a training program to get you from running nothing to being able to run a 5K. It is based on interval running which I totally believe in. Lots of people love this app and have success with it. The app is formatted for an 8 week program, 3 runs a week for 30 minutes. It takes care of the intervals for you and slowly builds up your endurance.
Runkeeper – I have not used this app at all but I know it’s popular and has been around a long time. You can preplan your routes or choose ones others have posted and even just free run. It is like most other running apps but the route feature seems cool. If you live in a big city like me, this might be cool for you but I can see that it would not have many advantages if you live in a less populated area.
ZombieRun – This app is really interesting. I only used it once or twice but it’s definitely unique. I have had friends have success with this app too. This app can train you to go different distances and works much like the others above. What makes it unique is the Zombie feature. As you’re running, you can pick up things like health and weapons. When the app knows you are slowing down, it will send Zombies after you and there’s helicopter sounds and it makes you feel like your in a Zombie War. Meanwhile you’re learning to run and increasing your endurance. Props to whomever came up with this app!
For more: Here’s a List from Runner’s World
My Personal Tips:
If you are running a long distance, running too many apps at once on your phone might make it die. I love to rock out to Pandora when I run but if I’m running more than 10 miles, I can not run my running tracker and Pandora the entire time. Just keep in mind your battery life. Finding an app that you like and music makes running much easier for me. I have 465 miles logged under my nike app so it looks like I’m not switching any time soon! I do know runners that don’t listen to music or track their miles but I’m a geek and want to know how far and fast I went every single time.
In the beginning of your running journey, I encourage you to sign up for a race. It doesn’t matter how far away that race is and you should pick a distance that seems attainable for you. Then you can explore training guides and methods that are comfortable for you. I would love to say: This is the one and only plan that will make it possible to be a super awesome runner overnight. But the truth is, it just doesn’t happen that way. Running takes a lot of training of the mind and body. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen. And the success of crossing a finish line is something everyone should enjoy. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of racing:
Pros – In a race, there is every type of runner. Some people are super fast and some people seem to walk the whole time. Most large races will organize you into pace ‘corrals’ so that your running with other people that run your pace. This usually ends up being maybe 50% true. Running in a race is like being on a huge team! While you’re obviously running solo, you’re all doing the same thing at that same time. It’s a feeling of human camaraderie. Most races donate profits to charity or are for a good cause. You also end up with a t-shirt and usually quite a bit of free snacks and drinks.
Cons – It’s a lot of people in one place. Some runners I know hate racing because there’s so many people in the way. Depending on the course, sometimes other racers can slow you down. I’ve been on courses that were not wide enough for the amount of runners and when anyone starts to walk, it forces everyone to walk and bottleneck. The logistics can be annoying. When you sign up for a race, there’s usually a time to pick up your race packet the day before, or you have to go early before the race and stand in line for your number. Depending on the race location, parking can also lead to anxiety on a race day. Logistics are the worst part of the race.
I love racing but in a race, I’m not usually racing anyone but myself. Inexperienced racers tend to run the beginning of a race way too fast and end up walking at the end. I have learned to pace myself throughout the race and run strong the whole time. I’ve now completed 10 races ranging from a 3K to half marathons. The course, environment and experience is different every time but I love the feeling of everyone running together! My favorite moments are right before you start and everyone is nervous but excited. You can feel it in the air. Races are really fun experiences and crossing a finish line is so exhilarating! Each race I fall in love with running a little bit more. You’ll see someone you’d never expect to see running a race, cross the finish line. You’ll see people dedicated their run to someone who has passed away. You’ll see runners helping each other when it gets too hard. It’s just a cool feeling and one of the times I feel connected to strangers on the most basic level.
3. You’ll Never love it all the time
Running is 90% mental and 10% physical and sometimes, overcoming the mental is the hardest part. It’s true that sometimes, leaving the house is the hardest part of a run. Every runner on the planet has slept passed their alarm and missed a run. Every runner takes days off and ‘doesn’t really feel like it’ today. Sometimes you leave the house, get half way done and decide that’s enough for today. BUT……it’s those runs that are amazing that keep you going. Sometimes you don’t want to leave the house and then have a great run to start your day. You’ll always feel better after a run! It’s the runs where you learn something about yourself, let anxiety and stress go, push yourself harder than you thought you could or complete a distance that used to seem impossible that make running all worth it. If you don’t love it this time, there’s always a next time.
I love running*
My Nike app says I’ve logged 102 runs. Of those runs, I think I’ve quit early 5 times or less. Sometimes you just have to listen to your body and not push it passed its limit but it takes a while to understand your body’s limits. I know the difference between physically tired and mentally tired now and always try to hold myself accountable. I’ve decided to simply not go on a run probably about the same amount of times. But I’ve also had the best runs. Sometimes I think I could solve world hunger if I just ran long enough. Running allows me to destress and feel my body like a machine. It makes me feel strong and confident about my day. I’m proud of myself every time I finish a run even if it’s the exact course I ran two days before. I don’t know what it would be like to be a super hero, but running makes me feel like I just might be.