11 March 2014


After I finished playing basketball in high school, I struggled to find ways to work out that I actually liked. When I lived in New York and walked absolutely everywhere, that helped, but once I got back to Madison, just shooting around on a local court wasn't really cutting it. Meanwhile, I thought running was the worst thing I could imagine doing to myself. (When I played basketball, I would run up and down the court all day, but if we just had a running workout? I lagged behind everyone and hated every second of it.)

Then, one day, after months of taking quiet walks to a nearby lake, I thought, "I'd like to be moving faster." Yes, it was as ridiculously simple as that. I thought, "I'm bored with this now," and started jogging. I had to work my way up to being able to run for even a minute straight, but I just kept moving. I've had a lot of stops and starts over the years, most recently because of a totally unrelated knee injury. But I keep coming back to it, and most importantly, I enjoy it more and more. 

Below are the three things that make the biggest difference for me in motivating myself to run.

1. Love What You Wear
I used to work out exclusively in old t-shirts and basketball shorts. There's nothing wrong with that, but as someone who loves fashion, I eventually learned I would be waaay more likely to want to throw on my gear and pound the pavement if I felt good about how I looked and my clothes were truly functional. Seamless, wicking fabric is truly a revelation. I went to Target and pulled a bunch of pink and black C9 by Champion layers of running gear from the clearance rack. I've only had to add a few items here and there over the years - those compression tights still work great. Below are a few of my favorite items.

2. Music Matters
I have playlists for everything from driving to showering and running is no exception. Mine include a healthy mix of rock and hip hop and I pepper in some pure pop of the kind that makes me smile no matter where I am or what I'm doing. I go to one of those songs if I need a boost (no one does this better than Ke$ha, and "Blow" is my absolute go-to). I also look for stuff that makes me want to push harder for speed, like the number embedded above. A friend just asked me for a Broadway-musical theater running playlist and I was more than happy to oblige. Check it out on Spotify! (It's very heavy on the rock musicals, of course.)

3. Make it Fun
I like to run outdoors rather than on a treadmill so that I feel stimulated and actually go somewhere. I try to vary my route every single time I run and take the time to look at the urban scenery around me. I also try to take advantage of my surroundings. If I run past a park with an empty swing set, I will stop and swing. It still feels like flying 20 years later, and it's a fun diversion halfway through a run. If I take it too seriously, it becomes work. If I keep myself on my toes, mix it up, and indulge in my inner child, it's exhilarating.

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