I really hate running, but I make myself do it anyway. I run because it’s good for me and it gets my heart rate soaring. The best way I can tackle the mental issues and physical pain is to do intervals.
For me, intervals mean running for anywhere from thirty seconds to two minutes, then having the same amount of time as rest, then running again. You can increase or decrease the intervals at your leisure. This seems to be the best way for me to start building up to run for longer amounts of time. I also really like shuttle runs – one end of the backyard to the other is good for me. I’ll often do twenty runs, do some squats, do twenty more, do some lunges… and so on.
Getting over pain
Distraction – I crank my music or go to my happy place. It also really helps if you have a friend, and the best type of running friend to have is totally someone who understands how you think and feel about running and isn’t trying to thrust their own agenda onto you.
Buy awesome shoes – I wear the dorkest running shoes ever, They are Duomax and they are the only shoe which really support my feet. I highly recommend going to a specality sportswear shoe store – those guys and gals really know what they’re on about. Also, choose appropriate socks. I lose all concentration when my socks are uncomfortable and that means I need to choose better next time.
Look after your tootsies – So obviously I have been in situations when I can’t do intervals or shuttles, because other people are in charge of my training. I trained for City to Bay for eight weeks with hour and a half long training sessions. It was hell. For the first few weeks I was soaking my feet in warm water, but then my right foot started swelling often so I was spending a few hours every Saturday with my foot up and iced. Sometimes I have strapped my right foot as well, but I had a very bad incident last year (it turns out mud + strapping tape is not ideal) and have been scared off doing so since then. I’ve rolled tennis balls under my feet and tried doing the walk in barefeet whenever possibly, followed by Always Wear Shoes… you get the idea. I have tried a lot of things do do with looking after my feet, and some work with limited success.
Choose where you run – I like running on sand, grass and pavement is okay. Treadmills are not ideal if you have dodgy knees or if you find them demotivating.
At the end of the day, you have to know your own body and what you are capable of, and capable of dealing with afterwards. This still means you need to be tough on yourself, but know your options too.
For high impact issues, here are some substitutes I like to use.
Running on treadmill: replacing this with walking on a treadmill on a very steep incline seems to keep me in line. Also, it gives you an awesome bum, and who doesn’t want one of those?
Jump squats: using just the squats with better technique is a better option than jumping with poor technique. Jumping = increasing your heart rate etc… but it’s squats. You want to have good technique, otherwise why bother with a jump squat?!
Jump jacks/star jumps: jacks are faster than jumps, but everyone knows what these are. The best option is a step tap while stretching out your arms as you would a star jump.
Step classes: There are so many loyal Steppers out there who would kill me for saying this, but Step isn’t for everyone. I really like Step BUT it does my poor feet harm. The best option for this is to try to go to a class that uses the step within it for some things (like Body Pump) or a taste tester class. I have only ever walked out of one class before – a Body Step class. This was a month after injuring my foot and I struggled my way through half an hour when I realised I was aggravating my injury. Most classes you can take options to avoid this – say if you are struggling in Spin, you can turn down your resistance, but in Step you need to stay on the step most of the time.
Running in general: A different type of cardio. I love Body Attack which is aerobics. I’m not great at it, but it’s a class which allows you lots of options.
When you have someone like I do – achy foot syndrome (yes, I just made that up), it really pays to tell people who train or instruct you in any fitness activity. Not only do you avoid the ‘come on, you should be running’ lectures, you’ll be shown different options or ways of doing things. This is an awesome thing to do, especially if you don’t really know what you’re doing. This also allows for people to make suggestions of how to best recover and treat your feet! Yay!
Despite all these things – I still really hate running. But it’s good for you… so go do it!