To spare you the details of my sad, slow Tuesday morning run, I’ll make this a quicky. Remember those 30 lunges I did on Monday morning? Well, I have to report back that, apparently, I’m insanely weak, and those menial movements have left me walking with a limp. I’m serious. It’s amazing how a 10-mile run is no longer something I fear, but 30 measly lunges can be a total wake up call.
That said, I still managed to get my butt out the door on Tuesday morning. In fact, I decided to cram in the full 5 miles through Central Park I had outlined in my head.
I recently received a kind comment from a reader who noted that they loved how I’m able to turn my workouts – something so many people dread – into such pleasant experiences, whether by planning a flower-filled route or ending at an outdoor summer flea market or incorporating a dumpling or donut shop (or both) into the course. When I read this, I was immediately transported back to Tuesday’s run through Central Park and couldn’t help but laugh. The entire run was painful, sore and achy. It was by no means pretty, and I definitely wasn’t fast. But did I manage to have fun? Come to think of it, I actually think I did.
On days when running seems a bit more like a chore than usual, here’s what I suggest:
- Make it pretty. Plan your route in advance, and make sure to integrate something worthwhile into the run. More importantly, make sure that Holy Grail of destinations isn’t too far away. You want the distance to be attainable, especially when you’re not feeling 100 percent. For me, that’s the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. It’s just about 2.5 miles from my apartment and presents the perfect opportunity to stop and stretch. In the spring, the surrounding area is especially gorgeous.
- Don’t force it. (But do try it.) Don’t get me wrong, I love the feeling of working hard and pushing my body to the limit. But doing so under the wrong circumstances can be really off-putting, resulting in an overwhelming desire to stop, quit, turn back around and possibly throw my shoes into the East River, only to show up in some Law & Order episode down the road. Dramatic? Maybe. But no one ever said that there was anything wrong with a leisurely run, one that involves a couple of pit stops, a moderate pace and a level headed mindset.
- Accessorize. I’m borrowing this one from my New Year’s resolution, mainly because I found it amusing. But instead of chunky necklaces and cocktail rings, in this instance I’m talking about cool running gear. While it sounds girly, guys can get in on the action too. Wear your favorite sneakers or water resistant socks. Fill your fuel belt with something delicious and refreshing like minty water. Toss on a glittery headband. (Erm, I guess guys can get in on that too. No judgements.) Either way, make the morning your own. Don’t make it about your sore legs.
- Rock it out. For Tuesday’s 5-mile run, I chose a 50-minute Radiosmash remix (this one, to be exact), which I knew would last from my apartment, around the bottom loop of Central Park, and back home. It was as though I had my own soundtrack, and I knew which parts were going to pump me up in advance. While there’s nothing like running to The Beatles or Coldplay or David Bowie for that matter on a rainy day, I don’t recommend anything slow if you’re already feeling particularly sluggish.
- Reward yourself. This is so important; don’t forget to commend yourself for all your hard work and what you’ve achieved. I’m not saying go out and splurge on a Chanel bag or eat a tub of KFC, but there’s no harm in buying yourself that $6 chai latte you usually pass on in the morning because it costs as much as 3 subway rides. If ever there’s an appropriate time to remind yourself that you’re worth it, it’s now. Enjoy it. Then, most importantly of all, get over it. No one likes a bragger.
How do you motivate yourself to run when you’re sore and cranky?