You’ve been at it for as long as you can remember, and while you know your love remains constant, your relationship with it at times has likely become a bit strained, lackluster, or neglected. Every runner goes through ups and downs in their relationship with the sport but there’s no need to suffer through a breakup. Here are five tips for a lifetime of happiness with the sport you love to hate.
1. Switch it Up
If you’ve been running for a long time, chances are you’ve got a routine route — maybe even two. While this can be good, it can also get boring. Try some new terrain and technique to re-ignite some passion in your running life. If you typically run on the road, try heading out for a trail run instead. If you usually run a ten-minute-mile pace, try changing that very pace or incorporating fartlek or interval work into your run. If you always start by bolting out through the front door, consider riding your bike to a new route or bringing your running gear with you to work and heading out from the office during lunch or after you’ve finished your day.
2. Make it a Priority
If running has taken the back burner to every other activity in your life, the honeymoon period is over and it may be time to re-prioritize. Do this by writing down the miles you’d like to run on the days you’d like to run them or enter them into your Google Calendar. If you’re a to-do-list lover, add running to your list and be sure to check it off once you’re done; you’ll experience positive reinforcement every time you check ‘done’ or cross it off altogether.
3. Get Social
As in life and in love, balancing time alone and with friends is important. If you’ve spent too much time hitting the pavement alone, bring a friend along for the ride. Make a new “running buddy,” someone who you can count on to join you for miles on a regular basis and who will be happy to talk to you while you’re out there. Also, consider joining a free running group in your community. Many local running stores offer group running nights or have the information you need to join one elsewhere.
4. Make a (Race) Date
Sign up for a running event such as an upcoming 10k or half marathon. You don’t have to actually plan to race the event, per se, but simply knowing you’ve got a date on which you have to join many fellow runners at the starting line will remind you to train and get back in the groove. What’s more, running events are much more energetic and exciting than any run you can do alone, which may help remind you why you fell in love with running in the first place.
5. Be Nice
Remember to listen to your body and your mind. If you’re hurting, don’t force yourself to run. It’s natural to take a break every once in a while. With that, don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re injured or simply too busy, burnt out or preoccupied in your life. The good news is: running will always be there when you come back to it, so don’t stress over missed days. That said, get back into it when you’re ready and rekindle that relationship!