A lot of people are not runners and I get it. Running is hard and often painful (physically and mentally).
In fact, I used to be one of those people who cringed at the thought of running for more than a minute.
There was once a time when I could not run for more than 30 seconds without being completely out of breath.
I'd be embarrassed in gym class when we had to run the mile because I was always that kid in the back, so winded I could barely keep walking.
This torment stuck with me for many years, as most hurtful thoughts do, so I stayed away from all running activities until my second year of college.
When I moved to Los Angeles in 2012, I was in for a complete shock. There were more juice bars than fast food restaurants, and just about everyone seemed to be completely engulfed in an active lifestyle.
I looked at myself, and the freshman 15 I gained the year before, and decided it was finally time for a change.
Don't get me wrong; I didn't want to start running. In fact, I wanted to do anything but run.
However, something came over me and I wanted to prove everyone wrong. All those bullies in gym class were about to see what I could do now.
The app is designed to walk you through a running program where, after eight weeks, you are able to run a 5K (3.1 miles) without stopping.
This seemed a little ambitious to me at first, but I got the app, laced up my shoes and hit the pavement.
I couldn't believe it. As the eight weeks progressed, I got stronger and was soon running 10, 15 and even 20 minutes without stopping.
Was I out of breath? Sure, but in a healthy, "I feel great!" kind of way. You're probably wondering, how did you just get up and start running?
I know we all have reasons and excuses for not wanting to run, but there are some helpful tricks and thoughts you can implement to get you started.
Think Of The Benefits
We're all aware of the "runner's high," and I'm here to reiterate how true it is. That endorphin rush makes you feel as if you're on top of the world, and it starts to become a feeling you crave.
Thinking of how much better I'll feel after my run has played a huge role in me lacing my shoes up every day.
Add that to weight loss, an improved mood, a larger sense of self confidence and reduced stress, and remind me why you aren't running again?
It's A New Way To Explore
Once you start going on longer runs, you'll begin exploring new parts of your town. You may discover a new coffee shop or restaurant you did not know existed, or you might find a new park to admire.
I've found many new places around Los Angeles just by creating new running paths for myself. Invite a friend along on your run and you can both stop at that cute café on your way back.
Technology Makes It Easy
With so many great apps out there for you to try, you'll find the one that suits your needs and keeps you motivated.
As a beginner, try C25K, or even Running For Weight Loss.
If you're a more advanced runner and want your runs to benefit more people than just you, try Charity Miles. They donate 25 cents per mile to a charity of your choice.
I know it may not seem like a lot, but each run adds up!
It's An Exercise You Can Do Anywhere
You don't need a fancy gym or any equipment to get started with a running plan. Grab your best tennis shoes and hit the pavement. Running is one of the most rewarding and beneficial exercises, and you can do it for free.
Saving money while still getting in shape? Sign me up.
It's A Selfish Exercise
Running lets you focus on yourself. Whether it's 20 minutes or an hour, a run can be a time to catch up with your thoughts and relieve some anxiety.
Best of all, running has been proven to reduce stress because you can either figure out solutions to your problems or escape them completely.
During your run, you may finally be able to pin down an answer for a question that's been on your mind for days. Physical and mental benefits? Yes, please.
Running may not always be fun, but what exercise is? Whenever I'm feeling down about heading out for a run, I try to remind myself how far I've come and how much better I'll feel afterward.
Running is all about you, so head outside; enjoy yourself and your newfound mental clarity. You'll thank me, I promise.