Run for Fun … Yes, We’re Serious

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This past November I ran my first half marathon. 13.1 miles. An absolutely insane number for a runner who never believed she could ever run more than a 5k.

I decided I wanted to run the race in the middle of July. I began my training during some of the hottest days of late summer. Switching between sides of the roads at any attempt to run in the shadow of a tree. Each week brought with it a new variation of runs and each Friday morning was a push to run one more mile than the last long run.

Though there were days of extreme soreness and occasional lack of motivation, creating that goal for myself changed my life for the better. I was able to see just how capable I was of completing something I desired to accomplish. Taking on the sport of running was the best decision I have ever made … and all I want is to share that passion with others.

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Get the Gear

Now that the weather is warming up, it is the perfect time to start working out outside! The first step to success is to get the right gear. Yes, we are all broke college students, so do not feel the need to buy the most high-end gear. Especially when the weather is warm, you’ll simply need the basics and running shoes. The basics can just be a pair of shorts and a T-shirt you’ve had for years. The running shoes, however, are the highest investment you’ll have to make, but it pays for itself when the miles start to build up.

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Schedule A Race

What I’ve learned to be the biggest drive to keep running is to sign up for a race. If I did not have a specific half-marathon to train for, I would have talked myself out of going on runs more than I would have actually run. It does not have to be a big race to start. Look for 5k’s around you that are happening in two to three months. This will give you a few weeks to adjust to training and build up your stamina to complete the race.

Make A Plan

Establishing a set plan is an absolute must when starting. Whether this be running a mile every day or following a training plan, having something laid out will hold you more accountable. For my training, I used the Nike Run Club app. It is free to use and will give a day-by-day plan of what run you’ll have. All you need to do is put in the race date and the rest is given to you. They even have coaches talk you through each run … which I believe made me become an even better runner.

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It Will Be Fun Soon … I Promise

It is true … running can be boring. However, there are some tricks to making it your new favorite part of the day.

To start, you can make a running playlist filled with songs that make you feel excited. Make a few or stick to the same one and just hit shuffle.

You could also do themed runs. Sometimes when I lack motivation, I will decide to go on a specific run to make it more interesting. You dress up in the colors of the theme and play that specific music. For example, in a Mama Mia-themed run you would dress in blues and whites and strictly play the Mama Mia soundtrack.

There are also a ton of running clubs and groups around campus or in any area. It can be intimidating at first to run with others, but you will soon see there is always someone else at your level, and running next to someone could boost your motivation to work.

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Stay Consistent & Watch the Change

The only way you will see results is if you stay consistent. Yes, the end of the school year is insane with last-minute work and finals, but that is why I am encouraging you to start soon.

As the weather gets warmer, it will give you an excuse to be outside and take a moment for yourself to de-stress. Running has become my escape every time I am overwhelmed or upset. I use it as a way to process my thoughts and have alone time in a largely social environment.

Just Start!

Next time the weather is perfect, go for a run! Maybe you only run for five minutes … or it ends up being more of a walk than a run. The more you get out and push yourself past what you thought you could do, the easier it becomes and the more benefits to both your mind and body you will feel.

Are you planning on running a marathon in the future? Let us know by tweeting us @VALLEYmag on X!


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