Run the world: Tips for nonrunners with big dreams

Stephanie Li/Senior Staff

As we ramp up for the start of the fall semester, you might find yourself itching to turn over a new leaf. The beginning of a new era often inspires us to instate healthy changes in our lives. New school year, new you … right?

If you’re like me, you may have tried to take up running before. It’s always the same; we start out with lots of motivation, but after about two weeks, life gets in the way. We quickly realize how much easier it is to do nothing than it is to do literally anything, especially physically exert ourselves. But I firmly believe that with the right tools and mindset, anyone can become a good runner. Take it from me, a chronically out-of-shape person who is lazy by nature, but has also completed a half-marathon. Here are the tips that made running stick for me.

Start with intervals.

If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of an extended distance, try out running and walking in intervals. Run for four minutes, walk for one, then repeat until you’ve hit your distance goal. Whenever you feel tired, remind yourself that a break is coming. You can do anything for four minutes! To make it even easier, download an interval timer on your phone, and let it do all the timekeeping for you.

Create a bomb playlist.

Choose upbeat songs that inspire you. My current running playlist is the entirety of Beyoncé’s live Homecoming album. I use the songs’ tempos to keep a steady pace and the lyrics to encourage me to finish strong.

Set concrete goals.

If you set realistic and quantifiable intentions for yourself, you’re more likely to follow through. Keep yourself accountable by writing your goals down and displaying them in plain sight. For example, pencil your distance goals into specific days of your calendar, or showcase your pace goals on your bulletin board.

Recruit a buddy.

Accountability buddies are incredibly effective. Grab a friend with similar goals, and find time to run together in your schedules. It’s a lot easier to flake on something if you’re the only one affected. Think of following through with your running as following through on plans with your friend.

Sign up for a race.

If you have an impending deadline, you might be more inclined to keep up your training. Remember, you don’t have to commit to a crazy distance — you can always go for a manageable (but still impressive) 5K. Choose a date that’s a few months from now, and sign up for that race! That way, you’ll have something concrete to work toward. Plus, the ultimate accountability-holder is the money you’ll drop on the registration fee. 

This upcoming semester, don’t let anything get in the way of your goals. If you want to become someone who regularly runs, do it! No feat is too big for someone with determination and a back pocket full of tips to make it more manageable. Seriously, if I can do it, so can you.

Contact Margo Salah at [email protected].