People often tell me that they hate running, or they can’t run, or they can’t run for very long, so I’ve decided to share an article I penned, which was first published by Men’s Running Magazine. I hope it will inspire you to get outside. The summer’s a great time to start, or re-start your love affair with running.
Here are five strategies to help you learn to love running:
1. Set small goals. Set yourself a goal to run for a certain amount of time each day, say 5 minutes and then stop, rest for three minutes and then run another 5 minutes. As time passes, you can gradually extend the running parts and reduce the resting parts, until you can comfortably run for 30 minutes non-stop. Once you hit the 30 minutes, non-stop, everything becomes easier.
2. Slow down. When we run in everyday life, chances are that we’re running for a bus or to get somewhere as we’re late. We naturally run fast and then take our time to recover when we meet our destination. When you’re running to keep going, you need to conserve your energy that means that you have to slow right down. At first it really doesn’t matter if walkers pass you by. Your goal is to keep going, rather than win the race, so slow down to a pace where you can comfortably hold a conversation, not a long soliloquy, but a normal conversation. The speed will come later, I promise!
3. Find a buddy. I love running on my own as it’s time for me to be alone with my thoughts. However, when you’re just starting out, it’s really useful to find a buddy at a similar level, or slightly better, that you can run with. Running with a colleague during my first year made a massive difference as we spurred each other on especially during the first few, very cold, months when I was trying to form a new habit. If you really can’t think of anyone close to you to run with, then there are always running clubs full of like-minded people. Just use Google to find your closest.
4. Listen to music. If you don’t fancy running with someone else, then music can be a great companion. I love popping in my earphones and heading out listening to my favourite playlist. Studies show that upbeat tunes not only distract you, but can help you push harder. Just be smart with your headphones, that is, keep the volume to a level that allows you to still hear what’s going on around you!
5. Track your success. Mapping your progress is a great motivator and with apps like: MapMyRun, Runkeeper and Runstatic, it’s so easy these days to see the distance you have run and how much faster you’ve gotten.
So if you’re just starting out on your running journey, try these five strategies to help you build your stamina and take things to whole new level. Remember to enjoy the journey and let me know how you’re getting on.