One of the beautiful things about crossing the 30 threshold is no longer feeling the need to force yourself into doing things you’re just not that psyched about. Whether it’s from finally reaching self-acceptance or simply not having the energy to care, giving up on a lot of those “shoulds” is one of the best gifts that we gain with age.
For me, a major one was running. I’ve always hated it, but felt like if I could just get good enough at it, I’d love it as much as my marathon-training friends. So I tried and I tried, but for years could never get past 5k before giving up out of excruciating boredom. So, I stopped. And I focused on spin and tabata classes that I found were a way more enjoyable way of getting my cardio exercise in.
But, here’s the catch: you actually have to make it to those classes. And with an increasingly hectic and unpredictable schedule, I began to realize that running—as much as I hate it—is actually the most convenient, feasible way of getting cardio exercise on the regs. So, now it’s back on my “shoulds” list. But this time, I’m not forcing myself to like it, I’m just forcing myself to get ‘er done. Here are the tools I’m using to make it happen.
1. Pay for it
Signing up for a pre-paid running workshop is the surest way to make you show up every week (part of the reason I so easily skipped those spin and tabata classes was because they were free with my gym membership). My advice: do it somewhere really expensive so that you’re hyper-aware of how much cash you’d be wasting by missing a session. Once you’ve kicked the “I’d rather just stay in bed” habit, you can join a free running group, like the ones offered by Adidas and Nike in Toronto, or just go it alone instead. I tried Precision Running at Equinox, an hour-long class that incorporates quick bursts of sprinting and steep inclines on a treadmill that ultimately help increase strength and speed for outdoor runs. I pretty much wanted to bail every time, but having made the commitment to do it for four weeks (and looking forward to their cold eucalyptus-scented towels and delicious smoothies care of the on-site IQ Food Co.) got me there.
These types of classes are especially great for newbie runners or those of us who have developed poor habits (ahem) and need some guidance on form from an expert. They also help you track your progress, which is a great motivator. “We assess what we believe is a good starting speed for you based on your experience and exercise history,” says Equinox trainer Michael Decorte. “So you can begin a running regimen and condition yourself as you progress.” In just a couple of sessions, I increased my pace by 2 mph, which I def wouldn’t have pushed myself to do alone.
2. Get the right shoes
For years I was convinced I needed a shoe with the most amount of support because of my weak ankles and high arches, so I never even tried on any “free run” models. Then I visited the Nike Run store (CF Toronto Eaton Centre)—where they’re all about an experiential rather than prescriptive approach to fit—and tested a few different pairs on their in-store treadmill. I ended up taking home the LunarEpic Flyknits, which aren’t marketed as a stability shoe but just happen to fit my narrow, high-arched feet perfectly. Lesson learned: go in with an open mind, and try everything.
3. Fine tune your playlist
Back during my early attempts at becoming a runner, I made the mistake of loading my running playlist with fast-tempo songs, thinking they’d motivate me to keep going. But they were actually too fast-paced, so I’d end up running at half-tempo, which was too slow for me and contributed to my general boredom with running. Now I’m all about a mix of tempos—and genres—that help keep my run varied and interesting. If you’re not up for creating your own, Apple Music, Spotify and other streaming apps have loads of ready-made lists that are a great starting point.
4. Get some new outfits
This sounds silly, but the minute I saw this jumpsuit, I wanted to hit the gym just because it’s so. effing. cute. But besides making you look good (and therefore feel confident), your choice of apparel can affect your comfort, either increasing or decreasing your chances of sticking it out once you hit the road. Think about it: if you’re constantly having to pull up your old, threadbare, saggy leggings, are you really going to stay out there for more than 10 mins? Probs not. Do yourself a favour and invest in a few good basics: breathable tanks, a comfortable, supportive sports bra, quality shorts or leggings and a lightweight rain jacket (so you don’t have the weather as an excuse)—and don’t overlook the little things: comfortable socks and a grippy headband that won’t slide out of your hair every 500m are major key.
Scroll through the gallery below for eight more products that’ll help get you moving. See you out there?
Pure Boost X Training shoes, $130, adidas.ca
A neutral runner designed with women in mind, this shoe offers an ideal balance between comfort and structure. Its cool-looking design features an actual gap between the rubber sole and the sock of the shoe, which helps support the foot's natural movement.