Six Ways to Make Training for a 10k (or 5k or Half Marathon) Easier

Some people get a runner's high, I think I get a runner's low.

Some people get a runner's high, I think I get a runner's low.

Five runs into my trail run training session and it's official:

I still don't like running.

To get you up to speed: About six weeks ago, I signed up for my first 10k, which also happens to also be my first trail run. Anyone who has ever talked exercise with me knows that I loathe running. It's just not my thing. Even during stints where I ran regularly, I don't think I've ever run anything faster than an 11 minute mile.

Now that I'm drinking the CrossFit Kool-aid, I don't even understand why you'd ever go running. It's so boring, and apologies to you runners out there, but the only "results" I've seen after committing to running is that I'm a little better at running and have joint pain. Months of CrossFit, on the other hand, has lead to me finally being able to do a pull-up, a crap load of push-ups and has also made me a better runner. Go figure. 

Anyhow, the beyonce and I are training together. Since he's done a bazillion races, I let him create our training plan. We're both going to CrossFit a few times a week, so he thought one run a week would suffice. I was happy to hear that because, hey, remember how I hate running? Like I said, we've got five training runs under our belt, the longest being a six-miler in beautiful Theo Wirth Park. I mean, it sucked, but it was beautiful. See? I am trying to be optimistic! And on that note, here are the five ways I make running more enjoyable.


1. This American Life.

For a few bucks, you can get the This American Life app which grants you access to their entire library. Hundreds of hour-long radio shows that will make you laugh and cry, sometimes simultaneously. In fact, last week I listened to the "Death and Taxes" episode and had tears streaming down my face. A shout out to Freakonomics, the Moth Radio Hour, Radiolab and Stuff Mom Never Told You. You take the pain away!

2. Go on a Quest.

I probably should've put this one first, because it's my best running tip. I like efficiency, and so I'll use my run as a means to check something out. For example, when I was looking for a house, I'd plan my runs around houses I'd been eying online. It was a great tactic-- visiting a place on foot gives you a much different feel than driving there. Other ideas? Run to a new restaurant and check out their menu, make a deposit at an ATM (I have a small running pouch aka fannypack that makes this easy) or try to spy on an ex. No, actually don't do that last one.

Patsy, trying to give me CPR.

Patsy, trying to give me CPR.

3. GPS Watch.

I'm not a gadget person, but the beyonce has one and it's awesome. Now I don't have to plot out my routes prior to puttin' on my running shoes, and it tells me my pace. My very s-l-o-w pace. I think you can probably upload your runs to the internet and have some app track your progress. That's a bit too much technology for me, but maybe you're into that. 

4. Leave the Dog at Home.

I love my dog, but she is the worst on a run. The beyonce can deal with her (or maybe he just runs fast enough that she doesn't jump all over him). As much as leaving her at home bums me out, it's torturous enough just running in general. So maybe you don't have a dog, or your dog runs like an angel, or maybe you have a very athletic cat who makes your runs endlessly entertaining... my point is, if there is anything that makes your run less enjoyable, skip it.

5. Breaks are Okay.

I always see these nimbly-bimbly runners hauling ass around the lakes. Meanwhile, I am slogging through my first mile, repeating "don't-quit-don't-quit-don't-quit." Seeing these speed demons always made me feel crappy... until one day, it occurred to me that I'm almost exclusively seeing people for 15 seconds or less. Who knows, they could be sprinting until they just passed me, then collapse in a heap of exhaustion. I've decided that sometimes it's okay to take a 30 second break or a minute or whatever you need. Some people even implement breaks as a training strategy. I like those people.

How could you possibly prefer a treadmill to this?

How could you possibly prefer a treadmill to this?

6. Make Runs Pretty!

Last week, we did six miles in Theodore Wirth. It's a beautiful park right in the heart of Minneapolis. Tons of trails, a few waterfalls, hills (ugh to the ups, yay to the downs), a weird bog... being in the beautiful great outdoors took my brain away from the pain. Plus, we saw nine deer! In the city! Although, maybe we saw the same three deer in three different places. At any rate, it was the best.

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What makes running more enjoyable for you? Please elaborate in the comments. I need all the help I can get!



(plus a FREE copy of 107 Ways to Expand Your Comfort Zone)