Diary of a Newbie Runner: How to Deal With Boring Runs [And Dead Frogs]

{By Ellery Sadler}

For me, running is a love-hate relationship with an emphasis on the hate.

Not because I’m un-athletic, or lazy (far from it: I am an Amazon woman and Amazon women are neither un-athletic nor lazy) but because it is painful.

People say that running is a mental sport.

At first I did not believe them, when my knees cried out for rest and all I could hear was the painful breath heaving in and out of my lungs. This isn’t mental – it’s purely and painfully physical. But after a few longer runs, I realized that ‘They’ were actually right. My body can last a lot longer in a run than my brain.  And another thing: running is boring.

I did not want to give in to the discouragement in my mind or the pain in my body, so I set out through various measures, to conquer my runner’s slump. And here are some tips I’ve run across (see what I did there?)

Tip #1: Chew Gum

Chewing gum is a wonderful way to distract yourself. I tried this one day on the treadmill. Plugging in my iPod, legs churning, I popped a piece of gum in my mouth and began contemplating the deep meanings in life. No not really, I actually was wondering how long the flavor would last, and as usual it was about two seconds. But I chewed it anyway. Chewing gum is a great way to get a full-body exercise. Legs running, hands pumping to the beat of your music, jaws working some flavorless gum – oh yeah, who is Amazon woman now? 

PS. Be sure to have an entire pack of gum handy so that you can get a new piece every once in a while, and if you ever find a brand of gum thats flavor lasts, let me know ;)

Tip #2 Do Hills

I generally run hills on the treadmill because it’s easy to control how steep of an incline you want. It’s a great way to kill your thighs and makes running on flat land seem like flying. I’ve tried it several times and found it a wonderful way to spice up your running work out. Normally I will run on an incline for 2 minutes and then walk or run for 1 minute just regular. Doing this about 5 times will have you panting (even if you don’t normally pant) and your muscles burning. You may even feel like a Marine.

Tip #3 No Music Allowed

This is a great way to make you instantly grateful for modern technology. Try running without music once and you will know why. No more needs to be said.

Tip #4 Count the Dead Frogs

I don’t know why, but I seem prone to seeing un-beautiful things, (un-beautiful is a politically correct way to say ugly), such as dead frogs. Now, my sisters who run on the exact same road as I do always see cute or cool things, like kittens in the woods, or foxes or  baby raccoons. Me? I see big, smashed frogs that somebody crushed with their tire, snakes that try to chase me, and little white dogs that try to eat me alive. Why? I don’t know. You know that old saying ‘If life gives you lemons, make lemonade’? Well, how about ‘If life gives you dead frogs, stop running and go home.’ No, that’s not very in inspirational. How about ‘If life gives you dead frogs, keep running, just watch where you step.’ Now that’s inspirational.

The way to spice up your running routine is to mix it up. Do something different (this does not include not running – I mean different when running), and take in the beauty or un-beauty of your surroundings. Chew gum, race up hills, turn your music up loud, walk occasionally if you need to, run like a snake is chasing you, be careful not to step on frogs…

…do whatever you need to but most importantly: keep running.