How to Fall in Love With Running and Prepare for That 5k

Do you have a love/hate relationship with running? We’ll get you to your best fitness relationship yet.

±It’s 6am and your alarm clock sounds for your morning run. Only problem is that you’d rather be doing anything but crawling out of bed and into those running sneakers.

I feel you. I vividly recall the first time I tried “running.” I took off down my neighborhood street only to feel like a welder was holding a torch to my calves just two, maybe three blocks in. Nine years later I ran a marathon. It’s totally and completely possible to fall in love with running. And I can attest that it’s an activity well worth falling for.

The high is addictive. And the health benefits bountiful. But I know that it’s a little weird for some yogis to add running into their workout regime. And yet somehow, whether it’s genuine curiosity or pressure from a friend, you’ve found yourself signed up for a 5k with no idea what you’re doing. Here’s a few ways to help you fall in love with (or at least like) running.

Find a running bud. 

Running friends are true blue. Not only do they help hold you accountable for training runs, but they also make them way more fun. These people are your entertainment. And hopefully you’ll return the favor as you swap work sagas, travel stories and more, mile after mile. They’ll also be there when you need an extra push, when you forget your water bottle or hair tie. The camaraderie of runners is a beautiful thing.

Have goals, but don’t get too caught up on pace. 

When you’re starting out, try and not get too bogged down in the weeds of your pace. Place more emphasis on heart rate and effort, which will serve as a better barometer of how hard you’re working and how much you have left in the tank to push yourself. Once you’re feeling confident and comfortable, try leveling up and shaving a few seconds off each mile. Just remember to be patient. When you’re trying to establish a running foundation. Staying steady is better than being smoked.

Make a dope playlist.

Train with music you love! Get grungy, turn up the pop, the heavy death metal, or whatever you’re into, and let your feet fly. Try keeping beat with the music to make things a bit more fun. And if you’re ready to turn things up a notch, you can try running to songs with BPMs that match your pace goals. Pro tip: if you’re using an internet based music service like Spotify or Amazon, download the playlist to your phone so you can be sure it will work in the mayhem of race day. Big races can be notorious for bad cell service.

Choose new neighborhoods and trails to run.

One of the best ways to see a city—whether in your own or one you’re visiting—is by running it! You can live in a city for decades, and once you start running the streets you drive day in and day out, you will inevitably discover hidden gems, trails and side streets you’ve never noticed before. And one of my favorite ways to explore a city I’m visiting is to start my first day with an early morning run. You can scope out the place up close and personal, while burning all of those vacation calories.

Use a plan.

In addition to friends, a running plan is a great way to keep yourself motivated.  In today’s digital age, it’s easy to sign up for programs and plans online to help hold you accountable and encourage a sense of community. If you’re prepping for the Wanderlust 108 (which you totally should), sign up for the adidas plan—you’ll get emails throughout a four-week training program, including tips to help you prepare along the way.  See the sign up links at the bottom of the page!

Treat yourself at the end of a workout.

When introducing a new sport to your exercise regimen, give yourself props and little treats and rewards along the way. I’d suggest not overdoing it with things like food (although that’s perfectly okay once in a while!), but more self-care rewards like pedicures, new sweat-wicking socks, extra snooze time the next day, a massage, etc. You’re working hard! It’s okay to treat yo’ self.

Ease into it.

You don’t need to go HAM training for your first 5k. Pick a time of day to train that you can stick to. If you’re a night owl, don’t commit to 6am training runs. Success begets success, so if you have a running time you enjoy and can look forward to, you’ll be in much better shape and your workouts will become something you look forward to, rather than dread.

Do it for the runner’s high.

There’s something so special and empowering about running and testing your body’s limits. When it comes down to it, it’s just you and the miles. And that runner’s high is a very real thing. It’s a feeling that no other workout can really yield in the same way as just hitting the pavement. There’s so much satisfaction in conquering the grind and finding out just how strong and fierce you really are.

End a run with a juicy yoga class.

Just because you’re picking up running doesn’t mean you have to abandon yoga. One of my favorite workouts is waking up for a run and polishing it off with a sweaty yoga class. The added time crunch of knowing you have to get your run done before class starts helps put a little pedal to the metal in your legs and will make your vinyasa all the more juicy. It’s like a workout dessert!

Run with Fido!

You’re starting a new journey, and who better to bring along for the ride than your best bud. Help them get their exercise in right alongside you. Don’t have a dog, you say? Fret not, many shelters will let you scoop one up and take them for a spin. You’ll be topping off your tank ten-fold and seeing their joy will surely light your feet on fire. If that isn’t enough to make you want to hit the trails, I don’t know what is.

Above all, have fun with it! Remember that no effort is wasted. My running coach always says to “run with joy.” Yeah, it’s going to hurt at times and your lungs may be on fire and that welder may be torching your calves too, but you’re running! You have gloriously strong legs and a determination that have gotten you where you are. Celebrate them and carve out this time with you and the miles as a time of joy and happiness. Whether you stick with running or are one-and-done after the race, be grateful for the experience and the opportunity to push yourself into new places, physically and mentally. Good luck, yogis!

Inspired to try your hand at a 5k? Try your hand at a Wanderlust 108 in one of the following cities:

Portland–Saturday, 8/11

Calgary—Saturday, 8/11

Boston—Saturday, 8/18

Boston—Sunday, 8/19

Berlin—Sunday, 8/19  

Zurich–Sunday, 8/26

Frankfurt–Saturday, 9/1

Brooklyn–Sunday, 9/9

Vienna–Sunday, 9/9

London–Saturday, 9/15

Amsterdam–Saturday, 9/15

Philadelphia–Saturday, 9/15

Washington DC–Saturday, 9/29

Cincinnati—Saturday, 10/6

Detroit—Sunday, 10/7

Tampa–Saturday, 11/3

Austin–Sunday, 11/11