Losing Weight
September 7, 2014 8:25 AM   Subscribe

I have asked a similar question in the past about how to shed the weight, but I am really struggling to do what I need to do. I need to take off roughly fifty pounds and I thought that if I transitioned to a vegan diet that this would help with it. I was cleared by my doctor to workout, he gave me a stress test and said that everything was okay.

Where I run into problem is that while I'm running I'm constantly thinking about how much longer I need to run. sometimes, I use the couch to 5k program but I find myself looking too eagerly to the times where I get to walk. Is there a way to learn to enjoy the feeling that is going through your body while you are struggling with the run? I find myself bored, or irritated while I'm running which makes the running that much more difficult. What do others do when they are running so that they are staying positive and trying to learn to enjoy the process of the resistance that they feel within their bodies? I know that this has to be a mental thing. If I could somehow learn to tolerate the discomfort I feel while I'm running I think I might turn into a decent runner. I've tried to compensate for all of this by telling myself that no pain no gain, but I just look less forward to running because I don't feel any of the positives that others are talking about when they workout. It's like when I'm running all the negative emotions come out and instead of feeling good I feel really down while I'm working out. Any suggestions, anecdotes, or people who have struggled with similar problems would be much appreciated.
posted by nidora to Health & Fitness (36 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Stop running. You don't like it. Accept that you don't like running. Not everyone likes running or is well suited to running. There are endless other physical things to do. Find something that you look forward to doing.
posted by littlewater at 8:29 AM on September 7, 2014 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: I don't think that I don't like running, this occurs when I'm biking and while I'm doing any cardiovascular exercise even the elliptical at the health club. I used to be able to fight through the resistance and eventually feel okay. I have to get past this somehow.
posted by nidora at 8:32 AM on September 7, 2014

2 things about C25K that worked for me:

1) Use music you really, really love. Music that makes you happy. Music that makes you sing along to the songs in your head rather than thinking about the time. I use the Kiss My Black Ass podcast. But you have to find what works for you.

2) Don't pressure yourself to progress as fast as the program says you should. I did each "week" as many times as I needed to until it felt easy enough that I felt ready to progress. I was on week 3 for about a month. It may take me until the end of the year to finish. But I will finish, and I won't get injured or discouraged, and I'll have more fun doing it than if I'd pushed myself to stick with the program's speed. Just like when we were kids and some kids mastered certain skills faster than others, but we all eventually learned the basic skills, you'll figure this out in your own time.

And yeah, if you do all that, and you still don't like running, then choose some other workout. Weightlifting or biking or yoga or boot camp or zumba or whatever. There are tons of ways to use movement to make your body healthy and strong. Running doesn't have to be yours if it makes you miserable.
posted by decathecting at 8:32 AM on September 7, 2014 [6 favorites]

You're probably overdoing it, because you need to build up your cardiovascular fitness before you'll be ready to run a lot. Have you considered getting a heart rate monitor and doing intervals based on your target heart rate? That's a good way to start getting fitter, and you can work your way up to C25K if that's your goal.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:36 AM on September 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

My advice is to stick with it for 6 months. Complete C25K and run in a couple 5k events, even if you hate it and can't wait for it to end. I've lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off, but I didn't truly like running or eating healthy for AT LEAST the first 2 years of that journey. Changing patterns as deeply ingrained as the ways you move and eat take tiiiiiiiime. The good news is, eventually my tastes changed and now I'm much happier being active and eating healthy. So give it a good chunk of time, at least 6 months. If you don't like it even a little more after that, look into another kind of exercise.
posted by horizons at 8:36 AM on September 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

Another cheesy thing I do is talk to myself. I don't talk to myself out loud, because people would think I was weird, but I repeat little phrases in my head. I read something about how humans evolved to be distance runners, and that is one of our advantages over other animals, so I tell myself that I can do this because I evolved to do it. I remind myself how awesome I'm going to feel when it's done. I tell myself that I'm proud of myself for doing something that's hard. I tell myself that this is fun, even when it's kind of not.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:41 AM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

So, it's any steady-state cardio that you do not like.

Try intervals or any activity that breaks up the intensity like Zumba.

There are plenty of athletes that do very little steady state cardio. Weightlifters, gymnasts, climbers. They certainly do some but the weightlifters have accepted that their bodies were not born to run marathons and they find their bliss and their fitness in ways other than running.

Keep looking for activities that you enjoy and that your body responds positively to. It doesn't seem that steady state cardio is something that will keep you interested for the long haul.
posted by littlewater at 8:41 AM on September 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

What do others do when they are running so that they are staying positive and trying to learn to enjoy the process of the resistance that they feel within their bodies? I know that this has to be a mental thing.

I shifted from running to more high-intensity walking and cycling which I could do at the gym in the wintertime and did it along with my ipad. I'd put on some sort of compelling 45-50 minute TV show (House of Cards, Orphan Black, Tudors) where I got really invested in what was going to happen next which would keep me from my general "Ugh I feel awful!" aspect of this. For me it was really about turning myself into my own Shamu and making the gym appealing in ways that I couldn't ignore. So if you have things you can use to incent yourself (favorite podcasts, favorite post-run treats, favorite outfit, I have no idea) that might help you keep more "eyes on the prize" where the prize is the longer term goal not immediate cessation of temporary discomfort.
posted by jessamyn at 8:44 AM on September 7, 2014 [4 favorites]

1. Running-specific: Seconding listening to great music that pumps you up. I have an app that's informed me that certain songs make me run way faster, for example. Or try Zombies Run!, which sort of gameifies your running.

2. I hate running/biking/elliptical-ing at the gym because, like you say, it's boring, and I'm counting down the minutes. For me, watching TV was not sufficiently engrossing, but reading is. It's hard to read and run, but on a stationary bike or an elliptical, I can easily read a book on my iPad, especially if it's something pretty light. I will also make a rule that I can ONLY read that book at the gym, which encourages me to go to the gym.

3. Group exercise classes tend to go a lot more quickly, especially when it's something fun (I like kickboxing and step, lots of people like zumba or yoga or whatever).
posted by goodbyewaffles at 8:47 AM on September 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I've been running for a long time, averaging 20-25 miles weekly.

I cannot overstate this enough: I hate every single second of running.

I listen to awesome music, I have cool running gear, and I can usually manage to push past the, "UGH THIS SUCKS" feeling and reframe it into, "Every single step is one step closer to BEING DONE, and then I can go do other fun things because I'm an athlete, and athletes have to do the ugh part so the kayaking/hiking/surfing is so much better."

I don't play mind games with myself. I know I hate running. If I want to be able to eat whatever and bike and all that other fun stuff and just feel really good, then I have to get over myself and remind myself that ONLY running gives me the ability to do all that.

AND...only running gives me the mental endorphin kick that makes me calmer and happier. Running calms my brain like nothing else, and that's probably 90 of why I run.
posted by kinetic at 8:47 AM on September 7, 2014 [22 favorites]

If you're talking about physical pain, I have no advice. If you're talking about discomfort from using muscles unused to sustained physical activity and boredom or irritation while you're wasting spending time at the gym/running/exercising, I have the exact same experience with exercise for the purpose of exercise. I have never enjoyed it and never grown to like it. Mostly, it's just a routine chore that I do and then am happy it's over.

When I ride my bike to work, my mind just drifts--I think about random things or traffic or watch the scenery. BUT when I ride the stationary in the gym, all I can think is "when do I get to stop doing this?" The same is true of the elliptical, the weight room, the treadmill. Even with great music (the stuff the gym plays is irritating) or a good book or the tv screens, all I can focus on is "how much longer do I have to be doing this?" I just don't get any physical or emotional pleasure from working out, ever.

I manage to do it anyway with a few strategies. Can you join a gym? It's easier to distract yourself at the gym than when you're running along a path outside. Are there treadmills with tv screens? Even if you hate all the shows that are on, it distracts you. Can you manage to read a magazine on the stationary bike? You'll lose your place a lot or find you're not really paying attention to what you're reading, but it distracts you. Is there a big picture window where you can watch the street outside, you may feel slightly exposed at first, but it distracts you.

Second, find an exercise partner: misery loves company, I guess, but it only works with a gym partner who has a better attitude than I do. I don't mean getting a personal trainer or someone to guilt you into doing it, but finding someone who is going to go to the gym for X minutes today anyway and asking that person to invite you along. This may not work running outside, as you'll try to match each other's paces, but it's good at a gym where you just go and leave together and work at your own pace in between.

Third, just power through it. It's like cleaning the kitchen or doing my monthly budget: a dumb thing I've got to do for the overall bettering of my life. For the rest of your life, there will be an hour here and an hour there full of stupid shit you hate. Give yourself the emotional and temporal space for this hour. In the end, that annoying stupid hour out of your day makes the other 23 better. Make that a gym mantra. Try thinking of it not as "20 more minutes until I can start walking instead of running" but as "I've already completed 10 minutes of this stupid chore that I don't like."

Also, I don't try to trick myself with a reward for doing it, but I only allow myself to use the steam room or the jacuzzi at the gym if I've used the gym for exercise.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:55 AM on September 7, 2014

OP, I know what you mean. I'm with goodbyewaffles - reading on my Kindle while on the elliptical machine is the one activity which can take my mind off how very much I hate to exercise. It engages my imagination much more fully than audiobooks or watching TV, and I think I actually move faster while reading than to music.
posted by tomboko at 8:58 AM on September 7, 2014

Running and walking by themselves typically bore the snot out of me unless there is something else going on to distract me. Running/walking with others and making conversation, being in a beautiful place (park, botanical garden), listening to a podcast or music, watching television, etc.

I find that I much prefer exercise that's going to engage my mind. My faves are any type of dance, martial arts, yoga, and aerobic weight training. Of those, nothing makes me feel as good mentally or physically than yoga (specifically vigorous vinyasa flow), but YMMV.

If I'm starting out the workout feeling really fatigued, I use a 15 minute rule: push myself through the workout for 15 minutes. By that time I'm usually feeling energized enough to complete the workout. I also find that doing a longer warmup helps combat fatigue and warm the muscles up sufficiently to prevent injury.

Of course, if you are feeling any pain or discomfort beyond "the burn" pain that trainers talk about, you should stop, give yourself time to recover, and then do something lower impact for your next workout.
posted by jazzbaby at 9:03 AM on September 7, 2014

I'm not a great runner, but I do jog regularly and don't spend every moment thinking about when it's over. Here are some things I think that help:

--I listen to podcasts, not music. I save one of my favorite podcasts for jogging only. When I run out of that, I search for podcasts that have interviews with some of my favorite public figures. Sometimes an audio book of a memoir of a person I really find fascinating. Whatever it is, it's jogging-only. Not the same podcasts or audiobooks I would listen to while lounging around or riding in a car. I pay attention to the content of the podcasts and don't think about running or walking. Even when my mind wanders, it's usually to something not running related--it's to something the podcast reminded me of.

--You might need to go slower. Doctor Mama's classic "maggot" blog posts opened my eyes to this element.

--I don't really feel good while I'm running most of the time. I feel good AFTER. Sure, I appreciate being outside and moving around, especially when the weather's good, but it's the wind in my hair, the sun on my shoulders, laying my eyes on a tree--VERY rarely is it that the running itself feels good. And it's only for maybe a minute at a time even when it does happen. I feel good AFTER.
posted by lampoil at 9:13 AM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'll ditto kinetic.

I hate running but i have run two or three times a week for the last 4 years.

It levels my mood and calms my arthritic knees.

Also doing something I hate gives me a bit of a kick. I am earning my own respect by overcoming. If I really enjoyed it wouldn't be an achievement every single time.
posted by srboisvert at 9:25 AM on September 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm not entirely sure what your question is, so I am going based off of your question title "Losing Weight", the statement "I am really struggling to do what I need to do", and the statement "Any suggestions, anecdotes, or people who have struggled with similar problems would be much appreciated."

There's a common statement in both running circles (I hate running) and cycling circles (I love cycling) that "you can't outrun/outride a bad diet". In my experience, and in the experience of a lot of beginner athletes, it is extraordinarily difficult to lose weight via exercise. Fundamentally, this is because exercise doesn't really burn that many calories, but causes significantly higher hunger in people. I occasionally bike with a power meter, which is about as close as possible to directly measuring my body's caloric expenditure from exercise. If I ride at approximately the highest power level I can sustain for an hour, so far as I can tell, I burn somewhere around 800 calories.

There is some controversy in nutritional science about the connection between caloric expenditure and weight loss. Although the notion of 3500 calories resulting in a loss of 1 pound of body weight is highly inexact and varies significantly based on metabolism, it is a pretty decent approximation of what's needed to lose a pound of weight. In particular, in my experience, my weight loss almost exactly mapped to that caloric/weight ratio, so I have high confidence in it, as do the consensus of mainstream nutritionists. I'm saying this because if we take this as a given, I would have to exercise approximately at my highest possible effort level 4-5 days a week for an hour, without eating a single bite more than otherwise. I can't do that - heck, I can't do this even with eating 800 calories extra a day due to exhaustion.

So, the roundabout answer to what I think is your question is that, "I lose weight by eating less, not by exercising." Running is a great activity, and exercise has consistently been shown to improve weight loss results. However, running in and of itself will not cause you to lose a significant amount of weight. You will need to accompany it with dietary restriction of some sort. Further, you will need to make sure your exercise doesn't entice you to break those dietary restrictions. For most people, this means that exercise will be done at a low intensity once or twice a week. That level will not correspond to a significant caloric deficit, but it will help out your metabolism, it'll make you healthier regardless of your caloric intake, and will likely make you feel better about yourself.
posted by saeculorum at 9:53 AM on September 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

A few ideas that have helped me in the past:

1. Listen to really inspiring music that keeps you pumped. Music you can really lose yourself in, whether that's stuff with interesting lyrics to contemplate, or music with a righteous beat to create sort of a mental dance party with yourself.

2. Look around! This is harder if you run in a gym on a treadmill, but more on that in a sec. When I am really tired of running -- especially in the couch to 5K type of scenarios where I have a small increment of time left before I can start walking -- I'll look up ahead for some landmark and think "I just have to run to that fire hydrant/bodega/farmer's market/park bench and then I can stop". Much easier than "I HAVE TO RUN FOR THREE MORE MINUTES THAT IS FOREVER THIS IS BULLSHIT". Also, if you're running in a scenic place, just, like, look around, literally.

3. If you run in the gym/on a treadmill, watching TV can help, especially if it's something your mind can get wrapped up in so you don't notice the passage of time as much.
posted by Sara C. at 9:56 AM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Good on you for deciding to get in shape and good on you for being committed to running! That's a great sign of grit :)

I also really hate doing steady-state cardio and feel exactly the way you do when doing it. I agree with those above who said that you may literally be running too fast. I would also suggest re-framing they way you think about it. You say you think you might "turn into a decent runner". You are a decent runner! Aren't you running? I found it very hard, when adopting healthier lifestyle, to stop comparing myself to other people which is what it sounds like you might be doing a little. The crucial thing about whatever form of exercise that you do is that you do it consistently. My thinking negatively about exercise by comparing myself to others made me not want to do it, and consequently sometimes skip workouts. Re-framing your thoughts so that the version of you that is out running is WINNING over the alternate universe version of you that's at home on the Internet (or whatever) makes each workout a victory, even if you go slow or feel like you've half assed it. Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Deciding to adopt this new lifestyle took a big amount of courage already.

The above point is an answer your direct question. I'd make two other related points. Firstly, your question is about running even though the title of your post is "losing weight". Remember that diet much more significant factor in losing weight and it is really incredibly important to improve your nutrition or all the running in the world isn't going to help you lose weight effectively. Secondly, and others have made the point above, there are forms of exercise that you can do that you won't hate. If in a few weeks you are still struggling with running to the point that you hate it so much you don't actually do it, or it is causing you to have negative feelings, please consider another way to work out that you might find more fun! (CrossFit? Zumba?). The only way I managed to keep working out consistently was to find a workout that made me feel good rather than bad.
posted by bimbam at 10:03 AM on September 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

it's any steady-state cardio that you do not like
This is me. I'll happily play squash for hours but I get super bored after running for ten minutes. I can partly squelch the boredom with TV shows on the crosstrainer, but I prefer interactive sports so much more.
posted by katrielalex at 10:03 AM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

you mentioned you are vegan- be careful with processed foods, along with soy!

Some studies show that soy can increase estrogen levels, therefore creating weight gain in certain areas; it is also been shown to interfere with thyroid hormone production. I know that these studies may not be conclusive, but when I felt WAY different after consuming lots of soy when vegan and after I cut it out, my pants were a lot looser within a couple of days.

It may not be soy for you, but you may want to pay attention to what you are eating and what responses these foods cause in your body.
posted by bearette at 10:47 AM on September 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

Is your main goal to lose weight or to learn to enjoy running? I think if losing weight is the number one goal, then running may not be the best way to achieve that. I know any sort of cardio really ramps up my appetite, and if you're seriously cutting calories, which is as far as I know key to weight loss, I think you'll have a harder to time with cardio workouts. Walking seems like it might be a better bet.

With that being said, focusing on the issue of running, are you doing in a gym, on a track, or outside on streets/trails? I loathe running on treadmills, and tracks are only marginally better as far as I'm concerned, but I've realized that I actually really enjoy running if I'm able to do it in a less "confined" environment. Also, listening to music that gets me really pumped up is key.

If you don't like any repetitive form of exercise, about something like zumba? I'm also a big fan of hula hooping. Done properly, you can definitely get your heart rate up, and it helps build core strength.
posted by litera scripta manet at 12:18 PM on September 7, 2014

A couple of physical comfort points:

I find when I am getting back into cardio of any type, I hate the way it feels when my body starts to sweat. It makes my skin feel awful and weird and wrong from the inside out for quite some time, and then it fades during the course of exercising. Eventually, there comes a day when that irritating skin-crawling "beginning to sweat" sense doesn't feel as intense to begin with, and eventually there's a run where the prickliness lessens even more than that. I have to relearn tolerating the sense of heating up and sweating.

Some medications can affect your heat tolerance. This also makes cardio more uncomfortable, and is something to consider--having patience with yourself and slowing down the rate you're increasing your workouts (like decathecting notes) can help with that while your body adjusts.

Another thing you might do, if you have a specialty running store nearby, is to check out running-based events (not just races, but clinics for form or drills or training programs with other runners of all levels--many at my local store are free or low-cost, because they want you to be happy and like running and come to their store, and they hire people who Really Love Running, and they have my lifetime loyalty for their help and non-judgmental attitudes). The other day I accidentally ran through their 20-mile training course (open course, public trails) for an upcoming marathon, and someone at a station asked me if I was with the group, and after I explained that nope, I was doing a different (much shorter) long run, they were all, "okay! are you sure you don't want any Gatorade or water? Have a good run! You're doing great!" That little bit of positive social interaction about running made what had been an internally grumbling and complaining run much better.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 12:25 PM on September 7, 2014

It's been mentioned but I think the confusing thing about this question is that you open by stressing that you need to lose weight, and the remainder of the question is about running. I do think running can assist a bit with weight loss in terms of the emotional part, and somewhat with the physical toning, but just want to be clear that you should not be 'punishing yourself' if you are going off your diet rules by running, or to use running as your major driver for weight loss, because these tactics will likely frustrate you further.

If the question is basically "for mental/emotional/physical reasons, I really want to enjoy running more than I'm enjoying it right now, how can I do that?" Then I think there are many good answers above. Watching a good TV show or movie with headphones while on a treadmill has worked best for me in terms of taking my mind off the running completely. And once you get yourself more conditioned and can do more significant runs, it becomes more fun to run because you don't get tired so easily and you can enjoy pushing your body and the satisfaction of the achievement.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:58 PM on September 7, 2014

I also hate running but I find trail running ok. Especially if I bring the dogs. At least you feel like you're going somewhere, not just torturing yourself for no good reason.

Running on a treadmill makes me want to give up athletics, plus I find it really destabilising on my joints and I run in poor form and it sucks.
posted by fshgrl at 1:03 PM on September 7, 2014

I find music boring when running or being at the gym. (I am not a runner, but once a year or so I do a 5k). Listening to podcasts keeps me on track so much more.

Hiking in the woods requires no sound or support - I do that year-round and don't consider it exercise. If there's anything like that available to you I highly recommend it.
posted by headnsouth at 1:22 PM on September 7, 2014

I have zero boredom tolerance and trail running worked for me; in fact I lost fifty pounds with trail running and calorie restriction.

If you find a loop that's the right length that's even better. You'll be less tempted to cut out early (if that's an issue for you) because you have to get back to the car.

I also go in the middle of the workday, so it's kind of like, hey, if I wasn't here, I'd be working.
posted by ftm at 1:45 PM on September 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

I won't really be adding much that hasn't already been said, but since you asked for anecdotes... I used to hate running (HATE!!!!), started a C25K in December 2012 (not for the first time) and did a marathon in April this year (I also lost 65 pounds in the process). I LOVE RUNNING!

1. I don't think I started enjoying it until I was well past 10K. I remember finding it fairly hard at first (absolutely "oh when's the next walking bit").Then it got better for a while and then hard as f... again until I was past 45min continuous running I think. From then on it got easier. You'll just have to stick with it through the tough bits.

2. Podcasts, podcasts, podcasts. My weekly long run (for the marathon) was something I was always super-excited about cuz I could catch up on my weekly podcasts. SUCH GREAT PODCASTS! (I listen to a lot of BBC documentaries, but obviously everyone needs to find what they like. I also did a lot of iTunes U for a while.)

3. Go run somewhere pretty, if you can. Running through beautiful, stunning countryside is just such an indescribable pleasure, it always lifts me up.
posted by ClarissaWAM at 1:51 PM on September 7, 2014

How long have you been running? After a hiatus when I'm in the 2-3 mile max zone it SUCKS. But if I stick with it, it becomes so that the first 10 min is my body adjusting to STRESS! and then I actually enjoy the state of running.
posted by pintapicasso at 1:52 PM on September 7, 2014

As many people have said, running sucks, but finishing a run is great. Still, it takes ages to get used to the running part. I've been running for about 5 years and when I started I couldn't do more than 1 km. Every second was pain. After about a year I could do a few km and while I didn't feel fantastic, it got easier. Here's some specific stuff that helped me:
  • Run at night. You run faster and don't have to worry about how you look. It's also cooler.
  • Track your runs. You won't ever feel improvement unless you track it. It's too slow. Use something like RunKeeper.
  • Find a friend who is equally or even more lousy at running. Motivation!
  • Run somewhere that old people walk. Every time you pass one, remember that you too will have limited mobility and celebrate the relative ease with which you move today.
  • Buy some tight compression underwear. I've pretty big thighs and chub-rub is a killer without knee-length compression shorts. Skins are a good brand. Or Sub-Sports, or Under-Armor.
  • Every pound you lose makes running twice as easy. Losing 50 pounds will make it a gazillion times easier.
  • Just running to lose weight will work for a time, but it will plateau. You have to diet too. I recommend the 5:2 diet (for speed and stickiness).
  • Track your weight loss. A WiFi scale like Withings is best for this.
  • Buy some running gear that you really like to wear, that you put on just for enjoyment.
  • Prep your gear the day before you go for a run. Just set it out ready to go.
  • I read a book when I was first learning how to train called Body for Life. It's probably the most cheesy book that I've ever read but was really quite motivational and taught me enough about running and weights that I didn't feel like a total noob.
  • Get some outside motivation. I use Beeminder (with RunKeeper) and Pact (app) for an extra kick in the bum.
  • You can go really, really slowly and still call it running. Just don't give up. If you feel like giving up, slow right down and do baby steps.
  • Your body will tell you that you're going to die and that you really ought to stop with this new crazy thing. Just ignore it. You almost certainly won't die, but if you do, at least you won't have run any more!
  • Mentally cut your run into five or ten short sections and count them off on your fingers. Concentrate only on getting to the end of the current section, not on the whole run.
  • It will get easier.

posted by nevan at 3:02 PM on September 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

Things that cheer me up on days when I don't feel like running:

--going to the boring old treadmill and using an iPad to investigate things I might want to purchase, vacations I might want to go on, how to care for my new tree, etc. Lightweight fun stuff.

--Running outside and listening to music. I have made some of the most important decisions of my life running and listening to music.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:13 PM on September 7, 2014

Running feels harder than other forms of exercise, especially if you are out of shape. Find an elliptical or ski machine that you like and it will feel a bit easier and more comfortable. Also, get one of the ones where you can watch TV. Watch an episode of something you like while you do it. That half hour or hour will go by much more quickly.

Once you're in better condition, you'll be able to appreciate running more. That was my experience.
posted by AppleTurnover at 9:03 PM on September 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

It took me a long time to enjoy running. Here's what works for me:

1) I read Haruki Murakami's What I Think About When I Think About Running. It changed the way I looked at running.

2) As many others do, I listen to my favorite music.

3) I happen to be lucky enough to live near the beach. So I love going out there. Find a place you love and run there.

4) I do a self-narration like I'm running at the Olympics. "And there's modern time now! She's coming up from behind her competiton (aka a person walking their dog)! She's rounding the corner now! It's a huge upset! We've never seen anything like this in all our years of watching this sport! The crowd's going wild!" etc. To shake it up, I cast myself as the underdog in one and as the defending champion in another run. It's surprisingly fun and it's amazing how much more I enjoy running when I give myself a story in which I am obviously! obviously! the star. Every run is a win when you're running in your own personal Olympics. :)
posted by so much modern time at 11:04 PM on September 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

Run at a pace at which you can comfortably carry on a conversation. Doing this may mean you have to slow down and walk at times. That's ok. If you really want to quantify that sort of pace, get a heart-rate monitor and run at a HR of 70% max (max hr roughly is 220-age). Running shouldn't be painful--not at first at least. Have a look at this which is based on the ideas of Arthur Lydiard, the great NZ distance coach.

If running is painful, slow down. When you get done, esp. in these first few months, you should feel like you could run for another 20-30% longer.
posted by persona au gratin at 1:43 AM on September 8, 2014

I have made some of the most important decisions of my life running and listening to music.

This. While running, my brain has come up with my most creative teaching plans (teaching grammar with thumb wrestling because preposition=push, so kids draw words and whoever has the Preposition has to PUSH and it creates muscle memory...trust me, it works better than it sounds), and I've been able to see solutions to problems that were stressing me out in a clear light while I was running.

I've been drawing a blank about a presentation for a week, and this past weekend I came up with an entire Prezi about executive function that all fell into place over 6 miles, and I came home, sat down and banged the whole thing out in an hour.

Running clears your mind pretty well.
posted by kinetic at 2:38 AM on September 8, 2014

Running is the only thing that I hate while I'm doing, but can't stop thinking about when I'm not. It helps me to have a sense of humor about how much it sucks, and also to run in the morning to get it out of the way. To echo above comments, running not only calms my anxiety, but also gives me a challenge to overcome every. single. time. I do it. That feels good, and we all know how hard it is so it's sometimes fun to kvetch with other runners, too. Good for you for sticking with it, it's an accomplishment no matter how far or fast you go.
posted by PaulaSchultz at 6:09 AM on September 8, 2014

I took up running about nine months ago, and it's only in the past couple months that I've consistently had runs where I was enjoying the process of running itself. What kept me going to get to this point was enjoying the sense of accomplishment I get when I'm done with the actual running bit. A year ago this time I could barely manage a 1 minute jog without feeling like I was dying; the other day I was looking ahead at my training schedule and caught myself thinking, oh, well that one's only five miles, that's not a huge deal. Seeing what I'm capable of, learning that I'm capable of more than I once thought possible, that's the fun part. The actual activity is more often the grin and bear it part. But it does get better as your health improves --- when running 3 miles no longer requires 80 or 90 percent of your maximum effort, but more like 50 percent, then it can get to a point where it's fun and relaxing.
posted by Diablevert at 7:53 AM on September 29, 2014

« Older NYC: Chelsea, flea markets, vintage clothing   |   How to make sense of this body language? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.