How to make running a positive experience

If you don't run, you’re missing out. At first, running can be seen as intimidating and as a result, people are left out from all its benefits. Not only is it a popular physical exercise, but it is also great for its mental health benefits: this is regarding the psychological barriers you surpass when pushing the body.

Twenty-four-year-old Ulrich Keuni, who is about to run his first half marathon for the only charity fighting to end child abuse in the UK, NSPCC, had this to say when asked how the sport has helped him mentally:

"Running has helped me mentally for sure. I've gained a lot of mental strength and perseverance from running. I mentally have to push myself for runs sometimes or to finish my attending goal/time even when my body is saying it's time to stop, my mental strength pushes me on. As well as this running helps me relieve stress. I'm almost in my own bubble when running my mind just feels relaxed."

As Ulrich highlights, it is important to remember that the experience is truly mind over matter.

When first trying out the sport, a storm of questions may occupy your mind. What music should I listen to? What route should I take? What should I wear? What time of the day is best? And the big one: how long should I run for?

To answer that, Kindred has put together a list of the best suggestions to make this sport an overall much more enjoyable experience.

Sprint to your own rhythm

This must be an enjoyable relationship so running whilst listening to music is the first recommendation. Personally, I enjoy playing music out loud. Even though wireless earphones can be expensive, I find that air pods or any other wireless earphones always need adjusting whilst on a run, which can become quite irritating.

To keep my phone sturdy, I use a jogging vest which enables me to play music out loud. The advantage of playing music in the open is the encouragement to run faster when passing a group of people. Even though you've decided to play music in the open, it is still not for everyone's listening pleasure.

When deciding what to play, our recommendation is to play full-length albums. The inspiration to run a full-length album incites you to continue running until the album comes to an end. Depending on how fast you run, this will almost guarantee a five-kilometre run and then some. Go back and revisit your favourite albums with each run that releases endorphins taking you back to a specific time or place.

Set the scene

The location and route of your run matters. Scenic environments are the best, so we encourage you to find somewhere that is pleasing to look at. Early in the morning for sunrise or just before sunset are usually the most beautiful and peaceful times to run. Early in the morning sets out for a productive day ahead and runs in the evening allow for a goodnight's rest.

Another tip is to make your route long enough to enable you not to do laps. The repetition of seeing the same thing whilst on a run makes it difficult to enjoy and feels more like a punishment rather than an enjoyable experience.

I use the Nike Run Club application to help me track my runs. One big lap is doable as there is no point in stopping halfway and walking the rest of the journey back – keep pushing!

Clothes for the runway

As mentioned earlier, I like wearing a running vest. Depending on the weather, outfits can change. During the summertime I opt for a vest that allows my arms to sway with the wind, enabling me to feel free of restrictions. During winter periods I opt for a sweater with nothing underneath but for women I recommend wearing a sports bra. I always wear shorts and have added a knee-brace for extra support.


Lastly it helps to stay hydrated when running, I use a light HIGH5 running bottle purchased from Amazon.

As seen with Ulrich, even though you’re bettering yourself, you can also help others when you truly commit to the sport by participating in fundraising events. Twenty-four-year-old Scott Coller, who has completed a 10k run for cancer research had this to say when asked what he enjoys about running:

"I realised somewhere around the turn of my 22nd birthday that I'd likely fall into the hands of addiction of anything I tried more than once, running quickly became my favourite and honestly most painful pastime to abuse. It's been over two years since I adopted the routine of slipping my shoes on every morning, a routine that humbles me more often than I'd like to admit, and a routine that encourages me to stay on top of my physical and mental well-being."

The recommendations above are from my personal experience, however we encourage you to find what works for you by partaking in the adventure. Leave any tips you have in the comments below!