A few years ago, I ran the Toronto half-marathon. It was cold, and I hated it. I’m a trainer who prefers exercise that lets you move your body in all directions. I found the rigidity of the sport boring, and when there’s no fun in something, I quickly tire of it and give up. But eventually, I was able to find pleasure in running thanks to joining the team at Happy Fitness, a Quebec-based running collective that celebrates getting outside and moving, and reading Haruki Murakami’s book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. What I learned is that the secret to consistency lies in finding joy in your practice. Here are five ways to (re)discover your stride.

Slow down

Beginners tend to have only one speed, and it’s usually too fast. Running puts stress on the body by forcing it to make a multitude of physiological adaptations. If you run slowly when you’re starting out, you give your body time to adapt to each and every movement, making the physical transition easier.

Lace up on the reg

When you enter the world of running, you immediately hear talk about distance and speed, but what you should focus on first is consistency, even if it seems less important. Putting on your running shoes three times a week and getting out for a run, even if it’s just for five minutes, helps build a new habit that can be integrated into your normal routine. And stick to the basics: Do it without a watch or any digital data, using only your instincts to guide you.

Find your intrinsic motivation

When an action brings you joy, you tend to repeat it. Associating running with the pleasure of spending time outside, looking at the scenery and taking in nature rather than focusing on the potential aesthetic results is a way to anchor yourself in the present moment.

Keep it simple

The beautiful thing about running is that it’s inexpensive. Unless they’re full of holes, a pair of runners from the back of your closet are good enough to get you started. And if you decide to really get into it, take a trip to a specialized store like the Running Room to find the right shoes.

Cherish solitude

In his book, Murakami says that he runs for miles in order to spend time with himself without owing anything to anyone. In doing so, he becomes an observer of his own thoughts, clearing his mind so he can recharge. When I run, I try to do the same thing.

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