Keeping the love alive in a long-term relationship requires nurturing and active effort, and your relationship with running is no different. Indeed, while bigger events and celebrations are important, daily actions are what build strength, in running and in love. With that in mind, we’re borrowing a few bits of advice on keeping love alive and applying them to running.
Buy at least a few special outfits.
Part of running’s appeal is its simplicity and low cost. For that reason, giving your tattered T-shirts and shorts a second life as running clothes can seem just fine, as can wearing the same old activewear until it falls apart. But just as dressing up for date night can add an extra spark to your relationship with a partner, wearing workout clothes that make you feel pretty – or at least good – can establish or reinvigorate your love for running.
When you feel good in what you wear, you might just find that you’re happier putting in those ks, which just might be at a faster pace. You don’t even need to spend a fortune acquiring outfits you love. Just bypass the luxury brands and shop sales, or head for places like Target or Cotton On Body, which are increasingly featuring running apparel that rivals the more expensive brands.
Schedule time for running.
The list of things that can interfere with running are truly endless. Whether you’re raising kids, working long hours, going to school, enjoying holidays, or just dealing with the ups and downs of life, it can be easy to let running fall by the wayside. But just like you need couple time with your partner, establishing and maintaining a good relationship with running requires that you make it a priority. Create a schedule for your runs, and protect that spot on your to-do list with the ferocity it deserves – that’s “you” time. Many people find that scheduling their run first thing in the morning is the best way to ensure this happens since the chance that something will interfere increases as the day goes on.
Make friends with other activities.
For arguably all runners, cross-training is key for staying in injury-free, which is important because it’s hard to love running when you can’t run. In addition, for new runners, cross-training can give you a break from running so you can actually miss it, and for longtime runners mixing up your running with other activities can help keep your love for favourite sport fresh.
During times when you’re especially bored or dissatisfied with running, you may even want to take a break for a while and concentrate on yoga, pilates, barre, cycling, or some other physical pursuit you can enjoy. As an added benefit, you will develop strength in muscles that running doesn’t work and develop an enjoyable potential alternative to running should you ever become injured.
Switch up your routines.
Closely related to the above is making sure to take your running onto different paths. Part of making a running a ritual is, well, having rituals. Because of that, it’s easy to get caught up in using the same routes week after week, just as you probably have your go-to restaurants and activities with your partner. No doubt, there’s a certain comfort in that. But driving to a beautiful place to run or simply somewhere different can bust up ennui and replace it with a feeling of challenge you and excitement. Beyond trying out different routes, another way to add newness to your running is to sign up for a race distance or type that you’ve never done. For example, check out a Colour Run, participate in a relay, or try out themed race.
Take time to appreciate what you like about running.
Running can be hard. Whether you’re new to the sport or burnt out from what seems like endless months of training, it can be easy view the sacrifices you make for running in a negative light – the time it takes out of your schedule, the need for an early bedtime, the missed nights out. But just as gratitude is a powerful antidote against taking your partner for granted, being grateful serves the same purpose when it comes to running.
As you’re making breakfast, walking into work, or settling down for bedtime, visualise specific benefits you’ve gained from running. After a good run, take some time to appreciate how your body is coursing with power and strength. When your feet beat against the ground during a run, spend time nursing your chosen mantra to the rhythm of your stride.
You fell in love with running – or are getting there – for a reason. Running can be a powerful antidote to stress, a path to inner peace, and a blissful throwback to being a kid. Sometimes you just need to revisit that.