How to: Start/Get Back Into Running

I have a very love/hate relationship with running. I love the idea of running but actually making the decision to crawl out of my comfy, warm bed is not one I ever like to make. I have not run regularly for about a year and I have been telling myself recently that I need to get back into it for 3 reasons:

  • A good friend of mine is running a half marathon each month for the next year and I’d like to run one with her.
  • I am going travelling for 3 months next year with another good friend of mine and there will be no gyms so running will be our main source for exercise
  • It’s good for me, secretly I love it and I am always striving to be fitter and healthier.

So, when I looked out of the window this morning and saw the sunshine I knew I had lost the argument with myself to stay indoors.

Before I looked out of the window though, I had some very negative thoughts: “I won’t be any good, it’s been too long, I will get tired, it’s probably really cold, I don’t have my special running water bottle (childish I know).

Anyway, once I got my butt out the door I starting thinking “I bet there are lots of other people who thought the same thing this morning. Maybe they could do with a gentle nudge from me (in the form of a blog post) to help them get their butt out the door too.

Before you read my top tips, if you have a very sedentary job and do little or no exercise I’d recommend a couple of weeks gentle walking 3-4 times a week just to get into the swing of things.

1. Get yourself a good pair of trainers. They don’t need to cost you a fortune, but the lighter shoe the better. Make sure they are a half size bigger than normal as your feet will swell whilst running.

2. “The first step out the of the door is always the hardest”. After that, you’re plain sailing.

3. Take a water bottle (yes the one I was whining about not having), ideally one with a hole in the middle to put your hand through.

4. Plan a nice route, you don’t need to know exactly where you’re going but if you can plan-in running through a park or somewhere beautiful, it will make the run much more pleasant.

5. Don’t worry about other people- nobody is looking at you so please, don’t feel self conscious. You’re out there, doing something good. Don’t give a cr*p what anyone else thinks.

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6. Go alone. If you’re worried about being slow like I was this morning, then go by yourself. Otherwise you’ll simply be worrying about trying to keep up with that irritatingly slim, svelte, speedy gazelle in front of you.

7. Leave your watch at the door. If it’s you’re first run in a while, speed is not important. Putting one foot in front of the other IS.

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8. Get a good playlist and whack it on your iPod (and a good pair of headphones that stay on like these). I like taking an iPod shuffle as they’re small and clip easily to my shorts. I listen to a mixture of music, some fast paced (Scrillex) and others more motivational (Emile Sande- Wonder).

9. If you’re currently freezing your ass off in England like me, then you need suitable running clothes. For summer I recommend loose running shorts and for winter, some breathable running leggings (H&M are great for running leggings at a reasonable price). However, it is easy to think: it’s winter, it’s cold, I’ll need 5 jumpers, 3 scarves and 2 hats to stay warm on this run. WRONG. Take thin, lightweight layers that you can easily strip off and tie round your waist. When it gets really, really cold I like to wear running gloves because my hands can get super cold.

10. There’s a thing called neurolinguistic programming (positive reinforcement). Basically, get yourself a mantra and, when the run gets tough repeat it over and over. So the neurolinguistic programming comes in handy because you don’t want to repeat “Don’t stop, don’t stop” because you’re brain will only hear “stop, stop”. Instead, try, “keep going”. Or words that end in a positive. Makes sense?

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11. Distract your mind, let it wander. Think about a problem at work or what you’re going to cook for supper. I like to think about blog posts I’m going to write (like this one I thought up this morning on my run). Got nothing to think about? Remind yourself of why you are running. Is it so you can chase your kids round the park, to feel comfortable in a bikini on the beach, to lower your blood pressure? Whatever the reason. remind yourself why you need to KEEP GOING.

12. Go when the weather is nice. If it’s your first run in a while you don’t need any more reasons to stay in bed than necessary. Rainy runs are for days when you know how much you love running not for when you’re thinking of any reason NOT to go.

13. Do it for the post run endorphins- that sh*t is like crack to me. I might smile with gritted teeth during those hills but when I get home I’ve got a seriously big, dumb smile on my face. And I ALWAYS, ALWAYS feel good.

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14. Use it as an excuse to get some fresh air. It can be particularly hard during soggy, English winters to get some well needed fresh air. Getting out there and taking a deep breath in the fresh air can boost your mood, like, squillions. Seriously.

15. Don’t forget to eat before you go. Give yourself at least 30 mins after eating to digest your food. Otherwise you will get a stitch. For some ideas on pre run foods check out my recipes here

15. Slow it down if you need to. It’s your first run in a while (maybe ever) so go slowly. If you’re finding it tough drop the pace back a notch and do what I call ‘plodding’. If you really need to stop, walk but don’t stop. It’s really hard to get your pace back when you stop so only walk if you’re desperate and only stop if you’re puking. Then keep going! Haha.

16. Don’t forget to stretch after. I can never be bothered to stretch before (if you can, then do) but it’s more important to stretch afterwards. I like to incorporate a little yoga practice in whilst my muscles are still nice and warm but here’s a quick bit of stretching you can do. If you’re really bad-ass then try an ice bath (or cold bath if, like me, you aint wasting all that ice). Get in and try and stay there for 5-7 mins. When you get out, put some warm clothes on and warm up slowly. DONT have a hot shower as it will mess up all the wonderful cold goodness.

So I hope that you’re not even reading this bit, I hope you stopped half way through, shoved your trainers on and ran out the door. Just. Do. It.

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Please like/share/comment if you enjoyed this post. Thank you!

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