Someone asked me the other day how I motivate myself to keep running. They wanted to run, in fact they could run a 5k OK, but they couldn’t motivate themselves to do it regularly so it wasnt having any effect.
It got me thinking – how have I bucked the trend and run 3 times a week every week for the last 2 years come rain or shine and havent given up?
Well firstly its definitely not due to any physical prowess! Let me be clear – I still find running hard – I’m tired at the end and I definitely dont look forward to it. But the thing I’m best at is never missing a run, so these are my 5 tips for not just starting running, but keeping running…
1) Treat it like a commitment you cant get out of – when you get up for work in the morning not going in isn’t an option you consider even if you’d rather stay in bed. I treat running the same way. I have ‘running days’ that fit around my work and childcare schedule and think of them as an appointment in the day that is non-negotiable. This change in how I think about them makes them a ‘have to’ rather than a ‘might do’.
2) Provide yourself with tools that make it easier – buy yourself some bits of clothing that mean youre not reliant on good weather. Any gaps for excuses is dangerous. A hat, snood and gloves for winter and sunglasses, vest and water bottle for summer. We can all make excuses to get out of doing things but dont give yourself the option. Carry an ipod or phone with you and listen to music or an audiobook – if you can find ways to make yourself feel more comfortable within the act of actually running it wont seem so hard.
3) Get to know your body – your body is a machine and you need to treat it as such. Know when you’ll be running and make sure you eat a decent meal beforehand. Dont leave it too late though, everyone is different but I would suggest a gap of least 2 hours so you dont feel like youre going to see your food again! Stay hydrated too and then take some water with you particularly in the summer and you will find running so much easier. If youre a woman don’t push yourself too hard at certain times of the month – a slow steady run is still a run. And finally a small thing but its mega important, ALWAYS make sure you use the loo before you leave 🙈.
4) Revel in your acheivements and be proud! Hey, youve done something amazing. Realise that. It shocks me how many people do no exercise at all – I used to be one of them. Share your run on social media – you might get the odd sarky comment but you know what? People that do that are just jealous (and usually doing no exercise themselves) and on the whole I find friends very supportive. Join a running community online or find followers via Strava – kudos from others can be a powerful tool. And if all else fails treat yourself to a favourite dessert or treat with dinner that night…after all the more you run the more you can eat!!!
5) Push yourself and acheive some ‘bucket list’ goals – when I started running just the idea of running a 5k without stopping was my only goal but as I’ve gone on (and its got easier) my goals have become bigger. Trying to get better times, running with others and recently doing my first organised run – a daunting concept for me – a charity Colour Run where we got pelted with paint powder as we ran. That had been on my bucket list so I was very proud…plus I got my first running medal!
Dont wait for January with the New Years resolutions losers, or during a short-lived health kick, or even wait till Monday, start now. And then, most importantly, DO. NOT. STOP.
All images via my Instragram – follow me here.