If you're ready to become a runner in 2015, lacing up those sneaks the first few times can feel so hard. Your muscles ache, your lungs burn, it's hard to breathe, and all you can think about is stopping. Don't give up on your New Year's resolution! Here are five techniques to incorporate every week to help running feel like a breeze instead of a chore.
Pencil It In
In order for your body to become more accustomed to the demands running places on it, you have to run regularly. Instead of fitting in random runs whenever you can or when the weather is nice, it's imperative to stick with a weekly running schedule that includes running at least three or four times a week. Running often will strengthen the muscles in your lower body and core that are needed to make running feel easier, and it will also build your endurance. Ease into running regularly with shorter runs, and as it begins to feel easier, gradually increase the mileage per workout.
There's no need to start off running seven-minute miles. Slow down your speed enough so you're breathing faster than you would if just walking, but not huffing and puffing so much that your lungs hurt or you're gasping for each breath. Skip the interval training, because even though it's great for targeting belly fat, running at a comfortable, consistent pace is easier than sprinting. Slowing down will allow you to focus on correct running form, which can alleviate common running aches, and you'll also be able to take in the scenery or have the energy to chat with your workout buddy, all of which can actually make you love going out for a run. As your body becomes stronger, your pace will increase naturally, and you can begin to challenge it with sprinting intervals.
Make It Fun
If you hate every second of your run, you're doing something wrong. Find ways to make it enjoyable either by bringing your dog or best friend along, exploring running in new places, listening to your favorite tunes or a book on tape, splurging on new gear, tracking your run with an app, or running near water so after your run you can jump in to cool off.
Hills and Squats
Having strong leg muscles will make running feel like a breeze. One way is to incorporate leg-strengthening work into your runs by adding hills. Running uphill will feel incredibly challenging, but as soon as you get to the top and start running on a flat surface, you'll be amazed at how much easier running feels. Or you can focus on toning your lower body when you're not out for a run, with moves like squats, lunges, or step-ups, or try this yoga sequence for runners.
Don't Just Run
Running regularly will train your body to make running feel easier, but if running is the only workout you do, boredom and repetitive-stress injuries can make it unbearable. Mix up your cardio routine with biking, hiking, dancing, or swimming. Doing other types of cardio will strengthen your body in different ways, so every time you lace up your sneaks, it'll feel easier to head out for a run. But the best part about taking breaks from running is that it'll actually make you miss it, and if you're excited to get out for a run, it'll make it that much more enjoyable.