Yes, like many others, I said I’d go running for one of my New Year Resolutions. Running doesn’t come naturally to me. No, scratch that. Running patiently over long distances doesn’t come naturally to me. I have managed so far to go running once a week. And, OK, I know that’s not much, but it’s once a week more than I did last year. The thing is though, I get impatient. I used to be a sprinter at school – I’d be one of those kids shipped off every few months to do inter-school competitions. Well, I ain’t no sprinter any more, but when I run, that sprinter mentality often comes back – I put some motivational music on, jog steadily out the door, then twenty seconds later I stop, panting, bent double, having found that I have somehow wound up to a full-on sprint even before I’ve reached the park. I could pretend that I’m doing interval training, but no, I can’t lie to you folks, I’m just an impatient runner. This is, of course, when I finally convince myself to actually get out of the comforts of my home and pound the pavements!
So, here’s how I have convinced myself to go running, and how I hope to be a better runner…
- Get yourself some fancy new running clothes… It’s kinda like buying yourself a new underwear set (sorry chaps, imagine some really swanky boxers!) – even if no-one sees it, you feel bloody brilliant anyway. Well, it’s the same with your running kit. I was very chuffed when I got a matching grey and green legging and sports bra combo from H&M. They’re reasonably priced too. Another friend pushed the boat out a bit more and went to Sweaty Betty. She figured, not only would she want to run in her new get-up, but she’d also feel as though she must run because she had spent so much on it! Taking herself on a little guilt trip.
- Make friends with a dog/ make friends with someone who has a dog/ get a dog… They’re so damn happy and funny that they’re bound to distract you from that stabbing pain in your knee and the ache in your stomach… they’re like furry little pain killers. (I occasionally run with the least runner-esque of dogs – a chihuahua)
- Set achievable goals… You’re not going to run again if the first run is so long, painful and laborious that it pains you to even think of going again. So be nice, start off small.
- Get some new trainers… They’ll be so spongy and feather light you’ll just want to test out those babies and feel all pro!
- If it’s a short run (10 mins) then select a few pumping songs… Having a few that will sustain you, which are approximately the same tempo, will help you run for the time you want and work hard for that shorter time. I like to start of with Avicii’s Hey Brother.
- For a longer run, find a good podcast… This was a handy bit of advice from my Sweaty Betty friend – a podcast is more likely to encourage the less experienced runner to run slowly at a sustainable pace. It won’t have the up beat, push-push-push attitude of typical running songs, so it allows you to set your own pace and not be affected by a song’s change in tempo. I personally like Radio Lab – they have fascinating studies and discussions!
- It’s alright to walk… Make goals – say, if I run to the bench then I can walk to the tree beyond then run again. Give little breaks as a reward!
- Lastly, don’t let the run resolution takeover… In the initial stages, I want to run once a week. I’m managing this (with or without the help of a chihuahua). Eventually, I will enjoy running more, it’ll become easier, then it’ll be fun as well as a work out. Maybe at that point in the future I’ll notch it up to more than once a week – but then that can be dependant on how I feel… got to fit in my shopping-cardio too, right?
Below is my starter song. Sometimes, even if I want a longer, podcast-led run, I’ll play this loud on my headphones and jump around my room to get me into the running mood! Always works!
(video courtesy of YouTube)