Have you grown up dreading running? Are you afraid of how miserable you might feel and do you wonder how on Earth anyone could like such a torturous form of exercise? Well, here are some simple ideas to try that might help!

Run Slow

That’s right, you probably need to run slower than you have been. There has been more than one person who has said that they DON’T like running or can’t go very far until  they learn what this pace REALLY is. People who figure this out come back later to say they are now happily running an hour or more using this new approach. Talk about renewed hope!

Here is how to know if you are going the right pace to enjoy running. Run slow enough to talk to your friend at an effort that feels like about 50-60% of your maximum effort. This is called conversation pace. Seriously, you should go slow enough to talk the whole time comfortably. Most new runners (and actually many experienced runners too) make the mistake of going too fast, breathing way too hard and having no fun. So make sure to check your effort more carefully. You should actually enjoy this run. It is recommended to also use a heart rate monitor. Your heart rate should be about about 180 – your age or lower.  After about 6-8 weeks of staying at the lower pulse and effort, you will begin to notice that our pace is getting faster even though it’s the same effort. When you train at the right effort, that’s real aerobic fitness your building! And it’s okay to bring a friend and make your runs your social hour too!

What if you can’t run much yet and still talk or keep your  pulse down? Don’t worry, just run for 3-5 minutes and walk for 1 minute. You can make your run time longer and longer as you feel more comfortable and get fitter. You can confidently use this run and walk break approach for any long training run or event you decide to do like a half or full marathon. Eventually, the goal is to run for 10 minutes and then walk for 1 minute for longer run and events, you would be surprised at how much better you feel by doing this.

Run Faster!

Once you start running slow enough and have some base aerobic fitness built, then you are ready to mix it up some days and do short intervals with rest long enough to keep it manageable. If you learn how to do this, you will actually feel better on all the days you do most of your running at the conversation pace. This can be hard to implement at first so this is where a coach and/or training group can teach you this exciting and fun part of running. Make sure to find a coach or group you are comfortable with and go have a great time learning and challenging yourself at a level you can handle. But, don’t worry, the best running programs in the world still ask you to do 80%-90% of your run time at the relaxed slow conversation pace.

Mix it up

One of the best way to keep running fun and still like it is to only run 3-4 days a week and do other activities on the other days. This is actually better for your long term health too. Definitely add some strength and flexibility 1-2 days a week by doing things like traditional strength work, pilates, yoga, group strength classes or something similar. Also, you could do other aerobic activities like biking, swimming or hiking. Keeping your body on its toes by switching up activities is a great way to not get bored and keep your mind excited for the next adventure in exercise!