I can honestly say that I don’t enjoy running. I truly believe that my body was never designed for cardio, and the reason why I don’t enjoy it is because I was never any good at it. I remember at school being forced to run around a field and feeling terrible about myself because I could never keep up with everyone else and quite frankly it’s embarrassing to always be last and have everyone waiting for you to cross the finish line, and to not get picked for a team because you would make them lose. As a teenager the embarrassment actually stopped me from trying harder so I wouldn’t be the last, whereas now it spurs me on, one of life’s lessons has taught me that the harder I try the more lucky I seem to be. In reality it’s nothing to do with luck it’s the result of the hard work I’ve put in. Here’s how I’ve taught myself to be a better runner, and if you’re thinking about taking it up as a hobby maybe this will help get you started.
As an adult I decided to take the plunge and try to become a better runner. What motivated me? I was in my mid 20’s I was no longer able to eat what I wanted and not put on weight, so I was gaining lbs, I was working 2 jobs so I could pay my mortgage so time was scarce and it also meant I didn’t have spare money to be wasting on a gym membership for a gym that wouldn’t be open when I wasn’t working. The only solution that seemed available to me at the time was to run, it was free and I could do it any time and anywhere. And these are the steps I took to put this new plan in to place:
1. Get a buddy system. Safety first and safety second! As I would be running at late hours and often in the dark I wouldn’t feel safe running on my own. So I contacted some friends and set up a mini running club. We would agree times and dates to go running and would always plan for at least 3 people to go, that way if 1 person had to drop out last minute it didn’t scupper the other 2’s plans to still go. No excuses!! It also meant that you would feel guilty for dropping out because you were stopping someone else from doing it too. And as well as the practical things I found it was great for morale to have someone egging you on or you could support someone else and encourage them to go that little bit further.
2. Get some trainers. This sounds really obvious but it’s really important to make sure you’ve got the right footwear. I would seriously recommend going to your nearby sports store and they can monitor your running gait and see how you place your foot on impact and they will be able to recommend the best running shoes for your running style. If you have the wrong shoes you can do some serious damage and put yourself out of action which is counter productive so make sure you get the simple bits right and the rest will fall in line.
3. Plan your route but focus on time rather than distance. Get a map up on google and check out the best route for you and your friends to take for your run, even if you have to do it in laps, but make sure you know your route. However, the key thing to focus on here is time. Set yourself a period of time that you want to run, 30 minutes of exercise is always 30 minutes of exercise, if you purely go by distance then as you improve you’ll be out for less time and that isn’t really the best option if you want to become a good runner. Let the distance part come later!
4. Don’t go too fast. Slow and steady wins the race 🙂 To start out my friends and I couldn’t manage running very well, so we took a stop watch with us. We would run for 30 seconds and then walk for 2 minutes until we had all caught our breath again, then we would do 30 seconds and then would walk again. 30 seconds seems like a short time to be running but when you can’t breath and have never run before it feels like an eternity. Starting small and working up was the best thing I ever did! Eventually the amount of time you run for gets longer and your recovery time in between gets shorter and after weeks or months the gap will close and you will be able to run the whole time. And only at this point would I then start to focus on the distance.
5. Set a goal. When I talk about setting a goal make sure it is something measurable and achievable. This can be a few things; if you want to run to lose weight and that’s your target, set a weight or a dress size that you want to be by a certain date and aim for it. Or if you want to run a race, whether it’s 2k, 5k, 10k, half marathon or whatever tickles your fancy. Sign up for it, train for it and do it. There is nothing holding you back apart from you!
6. Keep hydrated. And my final piece of advice is drink plenty of water! Running is hard work and very rewarding but to help your body you need to make sure it has plenty of water in it to keep working and to replace all the water lost whilst sweating!
Good Luck with your running! On your marks, get set……..go!
Love Roo xx
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