by Ryan McGowan – Warwick
Seriously, when you see people running, do you see them smiling?
I’ll be upfront in admitting that I would not consider myself a runner, and I am not a big fan of running. I’ve done the long runs and experienced the “runner’s high,” which is pretty cool; however, the mud run/OCR “high,” well, that’s the good stuff! Unfortunately, running is a huge part of these events. In accepting this reality, I’ve tried to find ways to make running bearable, and get good at running without doing it that much. Here are 6 tips to make running suck less, or perhaps not at all:
- Think technique. If it’s worth doing, then it’s worth doing well! I’m talking to you-the head-chaser, the heel-striker, and the dude who flexes his upper body the whole time (need a name for that)! Whether it’s the pose method, MovNat, chi running, barefoot running, or some other method, find a way that makes sense to you and practice! You’ll become more skilled at running, but more importantly, thinking about technique takes your mind away from how much running sucks and/or how much longer you have to continue doing it!
- Get off the street. I mentioned this a couple months ago – we have beautiful beaches and trails around here! Running on them presents more challenges and forces us to be adaptive. It also requires that we pay attention, which is a good practice no matter the movement.
- Speed is fun! If your doctor says it’s OK, try beach or hill sprints. Go “all-out” for 10-15 seconds, then walk back to your start line and repeat. Stop sprinting when you start to decelerate, and end your session when you notice a “drop-off” (a.k.a. “heavy legs”). Short time trials (1/4 mile, ½ mile, 1 mile, etc.) are also great for getting faster and keeping things spicy.
- Race! Having an event on our calendar keeps us motivated to train, they’re usually held in cool places, and performing when we’re nervous is good for us!
- Try not to be so serious. Leave the heart rate monitor, GPS, iPhone, and all the other gadgets at home and just go! Oh, and don’t run in place at an intersection. Just don’t.
- Do it with friends. Joining a running club or team is a great way to meet other people who choose to spend their free time running. These confused folks also act as accountability partners!
- If you’re hurt or injured, then it’s OK to take a break for a while. If you have an upcoming event, then you might have to suck it up, but after that heal and practice other moves like lifting, climbing, crawling, or even walking. There are too many people out there who can’t run anymore because they repeatedly ran despite their bodies signaling otherwise. Since our bodies are in it for the “long run,” then it’s worth healing now so we don’t have limitations later.
- “Running” on a treadmill isn’t really running. It’s simply not the same movement and besides, you don’t go anywhere! I have no tips to stop hating the treadmill.
Ryan McGowan is a former engineer and ironman who left the commercial construction industry to pursue his passion of helping people become healthier and more adventurous. He is currently Rhode Island’s only certified MovNat trainer and implements a minimalist approach to fitness with more of a focus on movement skill and play. His company, Laid-back Fitness, is located in Warwick and is a combination of a fitness center and playground.