Running and I have a rather temperamental relationship; one which has many ups and downs through the years.
I love the great cardio workout you get from running.
I hate the beetroot face it gives me.
I love getting outdoors for a change!
I hate that awful burn in your chest when you’re trying to breathe.
I love the smug feeling you have for the rest of the day.
I hate how I look like a red sweating mess when some runners glide by me effortlessly.
I love running.
I hate running.
I used to run fairly regularly while I was at university (I used to have a lovely 5 mile route along Newcastle Quayside), but since graduating I’ve slacked off a bit. During 2013 I managed the grand total of 2 whole outdoor runs! I often walk through St James Park in London and, after a month of saying to myself ‘ooh this would make a lovely running route’, last week I finally plucked up the courage to pull on my trainers and venture forth. Now, I’m going to encourage some of you to do the same. Here are some of my key pointers for pounding the pavement….
Break Out of the Gym
Treadmills are easier to run on. Fact. Treadmills are boring. Fact.
I really struggle to run indoors, mainly due to boredom. The view is always the same and it doesn’t help that you can keep looking down at that little distance tracker that only ever moves slowly onto the next 0.1mile! It’s also much easier to think ‘I’m tired now so I’m just going to get off’.
That said, if you really can’t get outside then a treadmill is better than nothing – you might just need to throw a towel over the display screen so that you’re not constantly monitoring it. Also, make sure to add at least a couple of presses of the incline button to make it more realistically like outside terrain.
Track Your Progress
If you’re planning on training regularly, it’s good to have some way of monitoring how you’re doing. Whether that’s by time or distance, you can always push yourself to beat your personal best. If you’ve got a smartphone, there are some great apps you can have running in the background and you can choose what interaction it has with you. I love using MapMyRun as it updates me every 0.5miles with my distance, total time and split speed. It also records your workout afterwards so you can look back at it later on and even share it.
Love Your Route
As with the treadmill, if you’re running somewhere boring (think residential areas…) then it’s hard to keep interested. Have a look on Google Maps for your nearest big park/river/lake/POI and try and run around there. Your run will go much faster if you’re distracted with something more interesting to look at!
Plan Your Route
If you’re running somewhere new make sure you suss out where you’re going – having to stick a couple of miles onto your route because you get lost is no fun, especially when you’re knackered and just want to get home!
Dress for the Occasion
Think about what you’re going to wear…you don’t want that old baggy t-shirt chafing under your arms in the first half a mile. If you’re out at night, wear something reflective to stay safe. Wear suitable running trainers so you don’t cause yourself an injury – good sport stores will often provide a free service to see if you need special insoles etc.
Play That Funky Music
One of my biggest motivators is a good playlist. Plan out the tunes you want to listen to before you go out and make sure they have a good beat. If you’re getting bored of your run you can find that the right music will help you to mix it up…slowing down for the verses and then sprint it out when the chorus kicks in. Go online for suggestions of good running playlists – my favourite tune to train to has got to be Titanium!
Just Do It
Ah, those infamous words from one of the high street’s favourite sports brands. Don’t over think it else you’ll never get out there. The morning is a great time to go…it’s often much quieter out and about. I normally have a good breakfast afterwards instead of before my run. This way you can relax for the rest of the day in the knowledge that you’ve already killed your workout. If the evening is better for you, don’t worry about it all day…schedule it in and tell yourself it’s like any other appointment.
Whether you’re training for a marathon or just want to get yourself moving….stop making excuses, get off the sofa, and get outside!