Saturday, February 18, 2012

5 Tips for a Better Run

As someone relatively new to running, I'm constantly looking for ways to keep motivated, keep focused, and, at the same time, keep distracted. (I usually try to keep distracted from how hard I'm working! lol) So here are some of the strategies I use for a better run:

1. The iPod: What you put on it and how you put it on matters!
      a. Music: For me, music makes such a difference. If I don't have music that I like or that know the words to, then I can't keep motivated. Try to pick songs that are fun for you. Don't just pick a song because it's upbeat or "motivational". I've done that and it doesn't work, you get bored. My "Get moving!" playlist includes a variety of genres, including country. Some examples: Lady Gaga "You and I", Colbie Caillat "Brighter Than The Sun", Dixie Chicks "Some Days You Gotta Dance", Taylor Swift "Hey Stephen".
      b. "Wearing" your iPod: Seems silly, but wearing your iPod backward can really make a difference in your run. I've been wearing mine backward since I was on the treadmill several years ago. The cord to the earbuds kept getting in my way. It was the most annoying thing (maybe even more annoying than being on the treadmill in the first place). So, I thought, if I turn it around and leave the cord behind me, then I'm free! :) Below is a picture of 3 different ways you can wear your iPod.
One: Under your arm; Two: On the back of your sleeve, Three: On your shoulder; all with the cord behind you

**If you decide to do this, and I highly recommend that you do, then I have one more tip for you: go to the 1st song on your playlist, select it and press pause, lock the iPod, then put it on and press play. It can be difficult to see your iPod when it's on your back. ;)

2. Why, yes, we are racing: See that lady in front of you walking her 3 pups? She's about to reach the next driveway before you. You better beat her there! See that elderly man strolling in your general direction and the tree right between the two of you? You better get past the tree first! Also, the girl in her cutesy little outfit running with her doggy on the other side of the road, getting closer and closer to the crosswalk? Don't let her beat you there!... Catch my drift? Who cares if they don't know you're racing? You do... and that's all the motivation I need.

3. Checkpoints: I've been doing this one for awhile, too. As I feel myself tiring, I look ahead for a checkpoint that I think I can make it to before I am allowed to walk. Once I'm walking, I pick another checkpoint at where I have to start running again. The checkpoint can be any marker along the path: a tree, a driveway, a mailbox, a stop sign, etc. For example, in the picture below, if I'm tiring quickly, I would set the checkpoint as the next big tree or the drain. If I can go farther, I would set it as the next telephone pole.
Look at that cute lil doggy!

4. Get your game on: Similar to the #2 tip, make the run fun for you. Something silly that I like to do (it keeps me mentally distracted from the challenge of the run) is play a game. It's similar to a scavenger hunt. I think of several things that I might see while I'm out and try to find them.  Here's a list that I came up with:
One of the neighborhoods I run in has a multitude of lawn sculptures lol

 5. Quotes: I find it incredibly helpful to memorize motivational quotes. This way, as I'm running, I can keep myself motivated by reciting them. Some favorites of mine are:
             "Unless you puke, faint, or die, keep going!"
                "It's ok to slow down, just don't stop!"
   "No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch"
                      "I don't stop when I'm tired, I stop when I'm done."
 "If it hurts, run faster. You won't feel any better, but you'll get done sooner."
                    "You are so much stronger than you think."
                "If you still look pretty afterward, you didn't do it right."

Now you know all my secrets. Please use them to your advantage. 
If you have any that you'd like to share with me, please comment! Thanks for reading! :)


  1. These are great tips - I've been running for quite some time now, and I never thought about a scavenger hunt of sorts - how fun!

    Also, something I try to keep in mind to push that last little bit is along the lines of "what's 3 more minutes?" and sometimes that turns into 5 or 10 minutes more.

    P.S. Here's another running quote for ya:

    "Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'"
    - Peter Maher, Canadian marathon runner

  2. I always think of the delicious breakfast (or snack if it's later in the day) that awaits me when I'm done.

    Some other songs I have found to help power me through my walks/jogs include: "Edge of Glory" (Lady Gaga), "We Owned the Night" (Lady Antebellum), Matt Nathanson songs, and One Republic songs.

  3. @Kelly: I was going to write a tip about "timing". I had thought about it while I was on my run, but when I sat down to write this post, I'd forgotten what it was. That may have been it because I do that a lot. "Just a few more minutes!" and I look down and it's been 10. Feels good!! :) And I like that quote!

    @Marisa: Food is a great motivator! haha Chris bought a chocolate sampler for Valentine's Day and last week I ate a piece after running. It made it taste so much better! ;) I also have "Edge of Glory" (Lady Gaga), "To The Beat of Our Noisy Hearts" (Matt Nathanson), and "Mercy" (OneRepublic). I didn't think of "We Owned The Night", I'll have to add that one! I have to re-vamp my playlist anyway, or at least shuffle it! lol