5 Ways to Make Running Not the Literal Worst

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Running is an inexpensive and convenient way to get your regular sweat on, but it can sometimes lead to motivation troubles. Breaking through the struggle, however, can come with amazing rewards: improved cardiovascular health, lowered risk of cancer and boosted mood, just to name a few.

So, how do you make running not suck for you?

1. Set a goal

What is it that you're trying to do? Train for a 5K? Get faster or stronger?

Whatever it is, write out your goal as a SMART goal (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based). This structuring will help keep you focused on your long-term goal.

2. Find what motivates you

Even with a goal, you might not be motivated to actually lace up your shoes. Figure out what's keeping you off the trails, and find a solution:

          Hate the treadmill? Find a running path and take it outside.

          Lonely? A running buddy keeps you safe and on track.

          Bored? Save episodes of your favorite podcast for your run. Or, try a running app like Zombies, Run or Runtastic's Story Running.

3. Have the right gear

OK, we don't want to encourage needless spending, especially since there are probably some ladies out there making fantastic progress on budgeting goals.

Still, having the right gear can definitely help. Here are two items to think about:

          Shoes take a lot of impact and beating. Make sure you're wearing running shoes that have good shock absorption and are in good shape. A local running store can help you find the right pair for you.

          Remember that running is a high-impact exercise, so the (admittedly, super cute) sports bra that's perfect for yoga or Pilates likely won't cut it. Make sure you're wearing a bra intended for high-impact exercise.

4. Don't over-train (or under-train)

You can totally nail that half marathon. We believe in you. Yet, unless you've been training, you can't nail it tomorrow. Running too far, too hard or too often won't help you get there.

Similarly, skipping easy or short runs and only heading out for long runs can be a recipe for injuries that derail your progress. Find a smart and safe training plan, and commit to it.

5. Give yourself a break

You've given it a shot, and you still think running is the literal worst. That's OK. Take that feeling as an opportunity to try something new while staying focused on your fitness goals. Maybe rock climbing is your thing, or kayaking will float your boat.

Any runners out there? How do you keep motivated?