Me and Running? We have a love/hate relationship. Our affair was off to a great start in 2008, when Running and I were first introduced. Those were some good times - probably our best times. I would bear the 100-degree heat just to see him. And there were benefits to spending so much time with Running: he made my legs more shapely and my waist looked amazing in a pencil skirt. I was on a high every time we saw each other. We were inseparable. I was in love.
Sadly, after a couple of years, Running and I broke up. I started having an intense affair with school, and he wasn't too happy about that. Something about me not making time for him. We did the exchanging of things: he returned my love-handles, and I gave him back the calf muscles he gifted me.
Without Running in my life, I became moody and listless... I missed him. I tried to get back together with him, but he wasn't having it. With so much time apart, we were no longer in sync. I'd go full-throttle and give it my all, but he'd just wear me out. And gosh, Running is so needy! If I didn't see him a few times a week, our relationship got rocky. We fought every time we hung out. I wanted to give up; I hated Running.
But somehow, we're still together. I know he'll make me feel guilty if I skip our dates, so I do my best to show up. There are days when I dread seeing him. Sometimes we'll be hanging out, and I just wanna go home. But we finish doing what we're doing, and I'm happy. The rest of my day is all smiles, and I wonder when I'm gonna see him again. I keep coming back for more. Me and Running? We're back together. I'm in love.
Now, here are some pearls of wisdom I've learned over the course of our relationship:
1. Make the most bad-ass running playlist, and update it often. Anything upbeat will do the trick. Sing. And don't forget your headphones.
2. Breathe through your nose, and make your belly puffy with air when you inhale. Make your stomach tight when you exhale. This takes practice.
3. Shades. Sunscreen. Chapstick. A quality sports bra. Water. These are non-negotiable. Trust.
4. Nike+ keeps things interesting. For me, tracking the pace, mileage, and time of my runs is motivation. You can see your progress, and even challenge friends.
5. Speaking of friends: invite them. You don't need to run side-by-side, but at least show up together to hold each other accountable.
6. Replace your running shoes every 6 months or 300-500 miles! Not doing so causes shin splints, and prevents you from performing your best. I like these. And tie your shoes right!
7. Eat food for energy. I like apples or bananas with peanut butter, hard-boiled eggs, or chicken. Also, coffee helps. Let your food go down, lest you collapse from a stomach ache mid-run.
8. Stretch. Now this is up for debate: I say don't stretch a cold muscle, so I stretch after a run (I warm-up by walking first). But others think it's best to stretch before a run. I'm no expert, so do as you please.
9. Don't start off running all fast like a bat out of hell, only to burn out and quit. Pace yourself. You can even do intervals of walking/sprinting. With time, you'll build speed and endurance. Patience, my little darlings. Patience.
10. It's all mind-control. Challenge yourself by going a certain distance, even if you're tired. Keep your mind on your breathing and scenery, not on how hard it is. With running, you have to tune out. That's why it's the greatest stress-reliever.
11. Make time for running and keep going. If you miss a few days, start up again. Just do the damn thang.
So there you have it, folks! If you have any tips, or would like to dish on your running/workout process, I'd love to hear! Take it to the comments section! Happy running!