|I love running in the streets of Tokyo|
I've been running quite regularly since then, and it became a second nature. To me, running is a treat and I always look forward to it. It's the time when I can be completely selfish and on my own, lost in thoughts and music, and aimlessly sauntering about. Running is a strenuous workout and it's definitely effective to burn calories (perfect for my cake enthusiastic ways), but most importantly it keeps me sane and happy (a must when you live abroad). I also like fashion and clothes, which is probably my secret motivation.
Many of my friends don't like running but wish they did, and I think it's possible to grow to love it, just like I did. Once you start running regularly, your body starts craving it and it just becomes a part of your routine. Here are some helpful tips:
Make a playlist
The music changes everything. I make specific playlists for running, with high-energy beats and a few random tunes in the mix.
Run on your toes
Not literally, but run on the ball of the foot first rather than the heel, it makes you feel lighter and you can run for longer. It's a tip I got from a marathon runner, and it works.
Don't expect to be able to run for one hour the first time around, as it's something you have to build. Start slow and build it up each time by a few minutes. A good program I recommend is the "Couch-to-5k" running plan.
The best way to increase your cardiovascular endurance is to run in intervals, which means bursts of high-intensity running interspersed with periods of low-intensity work. For example, you can run really fast for five minutes, then walk for one, then start again. It requires a lot of effort to start again, hence builds up your heart rate and burns more fat (and you can eat more sweets).
Make it interesting
Running on a treadmill can be quite boring. I much prefer being outdoors, and exploring new routes. Every time I go running I head somewhere different. I can discover so many new neighbourhoods and the sights keep my mind distracted.
Run uphill and downhill
Luckily the streets of Shimokitazawa are very hilly, so my workout is a mix of up and downhill runs, which can be quite difficult but interesting. I also like to run up the stairs that go over the train tracks (and watch the trains go by underneath).
It's a given. Before and after the run, it is necessary for your muscles.
I never leave my house without my phone (map + music), my keys, and some money in case I get thirsty or um, lost. I carry my Pasmo train card, which has money on it and can be used as a debit card in most shops.
Change it up
Some days I can effortlessly run 10k, while other days I can barely run for ten minutes. It's okay to change it up: if you're busy or tired, a quick and intense 20-min run is great, and if you have more time and energy, you can go on a epic journey. I love finding myself in really random areas of Tokyo.
I use a fee app called Run Keeper, which keeps track the time, distance, and even shows a map of my wanderings. You can save your workouts and see your progress, although they send you a congratulatory email every time you "achieve a new personal record", which can be embarrassing when you've just started.
Make it fun
Essentially, just have fun and don't see running as a chore. It should be a time to let go of everything else and just breathe some fresh air and listen to good music- that's how I see it.
|Hilly streets in my neighbourhood|
|My shoes. Pink and grey Nikes.|
|Sometimes I see pretty things and stop to take photos|
|I wear the HMS tee-shirt to run.|
I asked them and they said it was okay.
|Post-running snack: strawberries and mango slices|