How I’m learning to run happy

May 30, 2012 | By | Comments (9)

It’s been almost two months since I started my triathlon training and something funny has happened along the way – I’m learning how to love training. I find myself getting upset when I am forced to miss a planned workout, and even took to the pool after a particularly stressful day at work.

But the biggest surprise may be that I’ve come to really appreciate, and dare I say it, love running. Unlike riding my bicycle, normally my first choice of exercise, running takes less time for me to get a really strenuous workout, meaning I can fit it in more easily. And while I’m also enjoying my weekly swims, I don’t always have time to get over to the pool.

On today’s run I started thinking about the things that have helped me learn how to “run happy.” Here’s my list:

The right clothes – With five to six workouts each week, my wardrobe needed a serious upgrade. After falling in love with the 2-in-1 Gylcerin shorts sent to me by Brooks (2-in-1 because under the jogging shorts are boy shorts which keep me feeling secure and prevent chafing), I splurged on two more pairs ($46). I rounded out my wardrobe with inexpensive breathable t’s and C9 by Champion sports bras from Target.

The right hat – My biggest wardrobe challenge was finding a running hat to fit my big noggin. After trying on many, many hats – do all runners have small heads? – I was thrilled to receive a Headsweats baseball hat which fits perfectly, from our friends at Vescio Multisport Performance Services, a local triathlon training center.

The right time - While I’ve tried running in the afternoon and evening, I have discovered that I’m happiest running first thing in the morning, 6 am on weekdays, 7 am on weekends. The air is cool, the roads are empty, my body is ready to rock and roll, and the kids are asleep.

As a non-morning person I can tell you this came as a MAJOR surprise.

 The right tunes – With my iPhone safely stashed in my Tuneband, I have my choice of music, but I’ve learned to let iTunes Genius do the work. My current playlist is inspired by the 80’s hit “Hip to be Square” by Huey Lewis and the News.

The right goals – As I am still at the very beginning of my running adventures, my goals have been pretty simple – run for more than 5 minutes without walking; run for more than 20 minutes without walking; run my full route without walking; run up the big hill in my neighborhood without walking. . . are you sensing a trend?

I may reach the point where I’m worried about best times, but right now I’m just focused on getting past one more mailbox before I start walking.

The right events – To keep me motivated, I’ve added a few races to my summer schedule, including some where I can bring the kids for some fun, physical, outdoor activities. I’m really looking forward to this Saturday’s race on Boston Harbor’s Spectacle Island, as well as the Harvard Pilgrim Finish at the 50 which runs through Gillette Stadium (home of our New England Patriots).

I’m still taking running day-by-day, and I often wonder if this is the start of something that will last a lifetime, or if 2012 will be the “year I ran.” In the meantime, I was wondering – How have you learned to “run happy?”