How running can be fun, according to a fresh convert
This isn't about me waxing lyrical about how running has changed my life. But rather, some form of redemption for the workout in itself. Because if there's anything I've learnt in the past year of developing a consistent running routine (thank you circuit breaker), it's that the act itself, has been persecuted mainly for the golden standard, and not for what it is.
I'm certainly not a professional trainer or one with an impressive track record on file. This is my humble defence, as an adult who has abhorred running for 27 years of her life, on how perhaps we've been taking the sport way too seriously. And by seriously, I mean putting benchmarks on what qualifies as a good run. Some people in life will definitely have it easier — these people are born to be runners, tend to have an unfair headstart in life, and own enough emotional willpower to resist the temptation of fries. And then there are others (like me), where running only gets more fulfilling after you've attempted enough sprints to know that it can be pretty easy, and freeing, once you let down your guard.
Don't be fussed about your pace
Once you shake off the innate pressures of your pace being slower than the day before's, you have succeeded. Some days are just better than others, and the same philosophical logic applies to a run as well. Your body won't feel the same everyday. So go as fast as you can, and go as slow as you need to. As long as you're keeping those two feet moving, you are still running.
Be mindful of what you eat right before a run
Too much water or a severe lack of water right before you get out there can be equally detrimental to the run. Unfortunately, I've had a taste of both, as well as the mistake of consuming fruits with too much water content — like apples and watermelon. When this happens, the chances of getting a stitch about a kilometer in is quite likely. You'll be surprised to how easy running can be when you're not bogged down by unforseen pains in the lower abs.
Add your favourite tracks to queue on your running playlist
Any self-respecting amateur knows you need music in order to get the momentum going, especially when you can't seem to find motivation in the holistic chirping of birds. But then again, on every running playlist, you tend to have favourites. Add those tracks to your queue, just so your top ten chart-toppers can spur you on continuously, which can come in handy especially when you're feeling the fatigue kicking in.
Set a destination goal
It goes without saying that running outdoors far supercedes the experience you will ever have on the treadmill. What I have found in past experiences is that every kilometer just feels longer when you're stuck on the cyclical machine and constricted by the sterile disposition of an air-conditioned space. So when you're out there, don't fret too much about how far, but where exactly your end point will be. This gives you a destination to run to, rather than running aimlessly just to hit five kilometers. I've tried the latter and found that not only is it immensely stressful to check in on the distance clocked in, but also the running bit tends to get harder.
Embark on a new route
Trying out a new route is akin to heading to work in a new pair of shoes. There's newness injected in an otherwise predetermined routine, and you're more likely to go even further with a foreign trail. That's also the moment where you realise your body has been confined by the "rules" of hitting x number of kilometers, and once you've rid yourself of that, all that hard work will eventually see you running even further, without any extra exhaustion.
Avoid the sun, at all costs
This one's fairly personal. If you love the sun, go forth, the 12pm blaze might even do you some good if that's what you're into. I prefer runs at either 7am or 7pm — that's when the weather is slightly cooler (in the context of Singapore), and you're less likely to be exposed to harsh sunlight. It's also nice running, with the idea of having a good breakfast or dinner after.