I recently committed to doing a 10k run with a friend who is doing it for charity. I’m doing it to support her and also because I felt like I needed some sort of incentive to get me back into doing active exercise.
I had forgotten how much I enjoyed running. For me, it’s one of those things where you try to talk yourself out of it but then once you start, you find that it actually feels good and you quite like the rush you get after. I love the fact that if I’ve had a stressful day, all I need to do is stick my running shoes on, put some good running music on and go running. Once I’m done, the stress is gone and I just feel relaxed and happy.
I know a lot of people find it daunting to start but honestly once you start, you’ll soon find that you like it. Of course when you start you may not be at the level where you can run non-stop but if you keep at it, your fitness will improve and the more you do it, the better you will become and before you know it, you’ll be running all the way.
If you’re on the fence, I would say give it a go. It’s free. All it costs is your time and your body will benefit. Don’t worry if when you start you’re doing more walking than running. Just keep at it and eventually you will get there. I think you’ll surprise yourself at how fast your body will get used to it and how quickly you’ll improve.
A few tricks I have learnt to keep me motivated are:
1) Do not compare yourself to others. Just because your friend can do a 5km run in 20 mins or half an hour does not mean that if you can’t do that you’re a running failure. Different people have different levels of fitness. If you’re just starting such a comparison is probably unfair to you. Of course with time and a bit of dedication you could do that and of course you can use it as motivation of a goal to achieve but it shouldn’t be the be all and end all.
2) Set yourself small achievable goals. If you’re just starting out, it is a bit unrealistic to assume that in a month or two you’d be able to run a half marathon. Start small and work your way up. Keeping your goals realistic will keep you motivated.
3) Invest in good shoes. A good pair of running shoes really does make a world of difference.
4) Design a training plan. I like plans. If I have a plan that I’m following, I am less likely to give up, because I know what I need to do and when to do it. That helps to make sure that I do it when I’m supposed to, instead of putting it off.
5) Track your progress. You could go simple and just track how long you manage to run for or if you’re like me and like to see charts showing progress and breaking it down into a nice data summary with how many minutes you’re doing to the mile etc. then why not use a free app? There are loads out there.
My favourite is the Micoach app from Adidas. I like it because it allows you to create a personalised plan based on your goals and it keeps track of your progress. It’s an app that can be used either on Iphone or an android and also has an online forum where you can go for support and advice.