Many runners like to strive for athletic performance. They train to become better athletes, prove themselves, or accomplish something. But what if we’d simply let go of the high goals and just run for the joy of running?
ANYONE can be a runner, really!
There is no need to keep up with other athletes or to compare yourself with them. It’s totally fine to ‘just’ run for fun, for the joy of running, without any athletic or physical targets. If you let go of the stress of proving yourself, you’ll notice that you’ll be much more “in the present moment”. It will make you feel more relaxed.
Start your run slowly and maintain a nice and easy pace. When needed, slow down even further, walk or pause, and then continue.
Enjoy the feeling of being outdoors
Just focus on breathing fresh air, the wind in your hair, and the sunshine on your face. Enjoy the good feeling of moving your body and being active outdoors!
Relax, no athletic goals are required
Although there is nothing wrong with challenging ourselves, to some people it can be stressful or feel frustrating to be constantly pushing themselves, and striving for athletic performance. Let go of the thought that you should be able to run a 10km or a half marathon. There is no need to run a specific distance. Neither is it important to focus on tempo, pace, or the duration of your run.
To prevent injuries and sustain your run, a relaxed body posture and run form are important. But let’s not complicate things, just feel how your run and try to stay relaxed. To keep the physical stress and the impact on the bones, joints, and muscles as low as possible: hold your head up, and look ahead of you. Keep neck, shoulders, arms, and hands relaxed. Smoothly swing your arms beside your body and don’t take too large footsteps. Try to land your feet softly. Imagine foot landings on eggshells.
Keep your run light and relaxed, like toddlers do when they dribble around. Click and watch this short VIDEO of a LOW-IMPACT & RELAXED RUN
Focus on maintaining a calm breathing pattern. You should be able to talk in full sentences during a low-impact run. If that’s not possible, then run slower. You don’t need to run fast to be a runner! Ideally, your breath has extended exhalations (meaning they are longer than the inhalations). If your breathing pattern is calm and under control, your body is in a relaxed modus. If you feel relaxed, then your run will be fine too.
No need for a Runner’s High to feel good
You’ve probably heard or read about the euphoric feeling some runners have experienced during their run. It’s called the Runner’s High. But don’t worry about it if you have no clue what people are talking about. The truth is that most runners never get a runner’s high!! Just feeling good after your run is good enough, really!
Starting to run can be challenging. Especially if you haven’t been exercising for a while. It’s certainly good to start with a positive attitude. Simply head out relaxed and optimistic. Start easy and don’t give up immediately when your first few runs don’t feel smooth. Usually, it’s more a mental thing why people stop running. A little push can be useful to sustain just a little longer.
No pain, no gain?? Listen to your body
Yes, running can be intensive, and yes, your muscles may feel a bit sore sometimes. And that’s ok. But you don’t need to take the slogan “no pain, no gain” literally. Always listen to your body and don’t ignore serious pain signals. Just remember that slow and easy runs, without any muscle pains afterward, are totally fine too!! Running at a comfortable and manageable pace (even a “run-walk-run-walk”) will help release stress, boost energy, and enhance your mood. If it’s manageable, you feel good about it, and you’ll recover faster. This will help keep you motivated to go for another run again.
More runs =
Feel good+ More Energy+ Less Stress
= More Fun
Once you’ve discovered that running improves your mood, makes you feel good and more energized, and lowers your stress levels, you might catch the runner’s virus. Once you realize that RUN = FUN, you might become a regular runner. Great!
Don’t forget recovery
Enthusiasm for regular running is super. Not only will they make you feel good, but they’ll also improve your overall health, fitness, and endurance.
But always keep in mind your body needs to be refueled and have time to recover. Take enough rest in between your runs. Three easy, relaxed outdoor runs per week are ideal. Also take care of a healthy diet and rehydration.
I hope this post has inspired you to head out for a run too! If you did, please let me know how you feel. You may contact me by EMAIL or leave your comment below.