It’s the start of a brand new year and the start of a brand new decade (woo)! So what better time to get into running? If you’re a regular reader of my blog or follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’m a runner anyway. However, in the winter my motivation really wanes. The days are colder and darker – and it’s so much harder to lace up and get out there. Because of this, I decided to kick off my 2020 running schedule with a treadmill run – and although it was only 5k and I managed it in 29 mins – it wasn’t easy – and it got me thinking about the hardest things about running and how to overcome them.
Now this is number one for a reason – it is without a doubt the hardest thing about running – actually getting started in the first place. The motivation involved in crawling out of bed after your early morning alarm to jog around a park or tying up your laces after a hard day of work for a long run is not to be under estimated. My top tips for actually getting out there are:
-Organise your kit the night before
-Set a schedule to stick to
-Remind yourself how good you’ll feel afterwards
Feeling self conscious about running
Now this one is a biggie. The sweat, the panting, the wobbling bum, the fact I’m travelling at approximately the speed of a snail and walkers are close to overtaking – all things I really used to worry about. And of course I still have moments where I feel someone’s eyes on me and have a mild panic, but on the whole I just think anyone judging me can ffffffffff off or see if they can join me for a five mile run and still look pristine. Anyone who’s ever attempted a run in their life really wont be judging you. In fact, I find myself mentally cheering on other runners when I’m out and about. So next time some random stares at you as you’re running in the park, just imagine them in full cheer attire chanting your name to the finish line. Now talking of imagination, that brings me nicely on to my next point…
Pushing through the mental barrier (aka THE WALL)
Of course running is physically tasking, but the key is actually all in the mind. Whether it’s your first mile or the final sprint, what will keep you going will be the power of your mind. Whenever I’m running, I try and distract myself from the physical effects of running (the shortness of breath, the tiredness and the aching). For me, music is a huge help. There’s nothing like a Sean Paul banger to get you going! As well as listening to the beats and the lyrics I often find I need to use my imagination to distract myself when the run gets really tough. Whether it’s picturing myself in a music vid or lapping Mo Farah in the Olympics, I’ll do whatever it takes to get me through.
Having a bad run
One of the worst things about running is that the progress isn’t always linear. I’ll find that I’ll have a really good run one day and feel pumped to lace-up and go again the next week and I’ll have the worst run of my life, huffing and puffing my way down the road, hating every minute of it. So you need to not let a bad run get you down and deter you from continuing. You need to take into consideration that there are so many other factors that can contribute to your running prowess – what you’ve eaten that day, how much sleep you’ve had – and even where you are in your cycle (yes ladies life’s not fair!). To motivate myself, I like to fall back on the quote “you only regret the workout you didn’t do” – meaning that even if it’s a terrible, terrible run, it’s still better than sitting on the sofa doing sweet FA.
Not going very fast
I’ve never been a speedy runner – and I doubt I will ever be. Sometimes when I’m running along I seriously think to myself I may be just as fast if I was power walking. However, instead of getting down about the fact an old man could probably lap me around the park, I think about the fact that no matter if your 5k takes you 20 minutes or 50 minutes, it’s still the same distance – so still the same accomplishment!
I hope these words of *ahem* wisdom have inspired you and your running career. Here’s to many more miles in 2020!