As a runner (endurance/ultra/marathon/trail etc…), and as someone that trains adults and kids to run Half Marathons and 5k’s, I have learned a lot about making myself and others better runners. I am not talking about making you a faster runner, but a better runner which is a big difference. You want to be someone that can accomplish goals AND have fun while not burning out. Becoming faster will come naturally later.
But before I can give any tips though, the biggest thing you need to do is Get Out There! For just about everyone, the hardest thing to do is putting on your shoes and taking that first step. You know the old adage, “put one foot in front of the other.” Well if you can get yourself out the door to take that first step then you can achieve about anything.
Follow these 3 Simple Tips:
1.) Take off the Watch: When I was younger I timed and tabulated miles keeping track of almost every step. Sure you want to see distances/times and improvements as you grow as a runner. But it was not until I had finished a marathon and did not beat a time I was striving for by 3 minutes that I got pissed. I was miserable right after the finish line and spent the rest of the day unhappy with myself. It was the next day that I realized “Hey, I just did something less than 1% of the population can do”, that it hit me. Be happy with your accomplishments. Be happy with finishes. And be happy with yourself. I took the watch off after that and have been a much better, happier and mentally healthier runner since!
2.) Embrace the Hill: Most people see a hill and their mind goes negative. I see a hill and think “I am going to reach the top!” Hills are not only a great physical task for making yourself a stronger runner but they are also a great mental barrier to overcome. The more hills you embrace, run, and accomplish, the more positive mentally and physically you will be for the next hill and the next one and the next! At some time when out on a run, you will come to a crossroads and will have to make a decision of either taking the easy route or the tougher hill route. Choose the tougher of the two and when it really counts, you will overcome some obstacle that others will be defeated by later.
3.) Push just a Couple of Extra Yards: You go out on your usual daily route and towards the end when you see where you are finishing will usually pull up and walk in that last couple of yards. I say run those extra feet, in fact, push yourself the last couple hundred yards. You will be surprised, especially when running a race, no matter the distance, those last couple of yards can be the hardest. When you are physically and mentally trained for that ending, you will ease through any finish line feeling stronger than when you started.
As simple as these tips sound, it took me many years to master. If you follow these rules for every run I PROMISE you that running will become more enjoyable making you feel good inside and out. It’s not all about the physical that makes a good runner. You have to have the mental capacity too which will, in turn, make you feel accomplished on a daily basis.