Full disclosure: running isn’t my thing. I can grin and bear it, but it isn’t my favorite exercise, by a long shot. That said, I’ve done some running; a 5K and a 10K here and there; and as I’ve gotten better I have learned a few tips on how to make running a little more fun and a lot more worth it.

1. Stretch

Female Athlete Stretching Outdoors

I’ve always been that person that rolls their eyes at the people lightly jogging before a race, but there is something to be said for it. It’s important not to go from 0-100. Take a walk, stretch your legs, roll your shoulders back and forth, and get your body warmed up before you start the race.

2. Choose your soundtrack

While I appreciate music for helping me set a pace, I find it can throw me off, and I often find myself distracted skipping songs or feeling like the song is wrong for my mood, and so I prefer listening to podcasts while running. Whether you’re like me, you prefer listening to music, or you prefer the sounds of nature, figuring out ahead of time what you’re going to be listening to is going to help you stay focused while you run.

3. Create a strategy for your run

43 year old woman jogging in alley autumn fog exercising series with white jacket full body portrait front shot with shallow focus depth and blurred background

It’s important, when you start a run to have some kind of idea of how far you want to run, and an idea of how you want to pace yourself for the run. If I’m running 3 miles, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the mile markers, and take it fairly slow in the first 2 miles, so I can push a little harder in the final mile. The more you run, the easier it is to figure out a strategy.

4. Track your progress

Close up shot of young sportswoman looking at smartwatch. Fitness female monitoring her progress on smartwatch.

Keep track of your time and distances. Even if you’re not running with the aim of trying to be faster or push yourself further, those numbers will help you see your progress over time, and help you set goals (if you want to).

5. Change it up

Man runs on rocky sea side

It doesn’t matter how much you love something, too much over a period of time can make it boring easily. Don’t be afraid to try different routes, or run with different people. Keep things interesting.

What do you do to make running easier and more enjoyable?

Femi A-Williams is a health and fitness convert trying to reconcile a healthy lifestyle and a happy food life. She is 80% whole grain and 20% donut.

All posts by Femi A-Williams