Okay, so.. Running!
I’ve absolutely lost count of the number of times I’ve said ‘I’m going to start running’ only to go once and not go again for weeks! But this time just seems to be different! Some little switch inside has flicked itself and left me feeling rather motivated to pursue it, and more so, to continue it!
I’ve kept up my regular exercise for quite a few months now and back in September I took part in a charity colour run (you know the kind, where they chuck powder paint in your face as you run past them… super fun, not so much however when you forget to close your mouth!! Ha!!) I loved the run and I was super bloody proud of myself for doing it in a pretty decent time but my plans to build myself up and train for it were quite frankly non existent and no more runs ensued!
Last week, Rob dragged me out for a run and as much as I thought I was going to collapse and die for a few seconds I did enjoy it and it got me to thinking that I needed to dig deep and find the motivation to continue. That’s where Couch to 5K came in! I’m sure you’ll all of heard of it, it’s a simple phone app that guides you through a 9 week programme to slowly build your stamina and increase your running abilities. So on Friday, I chucked the bambino in the running buggy (yes, I have a proper running buggy, I know right, go me! 🎉) and we headed out in the cold, IN PUBLIC, for a run! Now you will notice I emphasised the in public bit… that is the bit I hate! My absolute worst fear, the thing that deters me, demotivates me, the sheer reason I’ve turned around before even getting to the end of the road and gone home to do a YouTube workout instead in the comfort of my home, behind a closed door, away from anyone’s view! The thought of people seeing me running fills me with dread! When I say it out loud I realise how ridiculous it sounds! If I see people running, I don’t even bat an eyelid, in fact I even think how amazing it is that they’re out there, improving their health, lapping everyone on the couch. So why the hell would anyone give a shit about my fat ass bouncing on past them?! They don’t, they won’t, so I need to put on my big girl pants and suck it the hell up!! And that my friends, is what I bloody well did! Running with Rob is kind of like having a comfort blanket with me, just like when I run with my friend Gem. Being with someone gives me confidence to overcome those fears but running on my own is a whole different story! But on Friday, and again on Saturday, I did it! Just me (and Taylor, loving life sat in the buggy) and do you know what?! I saw people, people saw me!! People smiled, I smiled at people, some people even said good morning as I ran (ok, jogged) on past them! I didn’t care! Not one single iota! And this morning I even braved a run completely on my own whilst Tay was at Pre-School!
So back to the Couch to 5K, it’s a great little app! There are many available but do be careful that some will try to charge you (be in initially or a week or 2 into your training!) this is rubbish, you don’t need to pay! All you need is the free BBC app pictured below…
It’s guides you through every run and is really encouraging. Plus an added bonus is being able to choose from 4 celebrities to voice it (I currently have Sarah Millican cracking the whip; oh I love her!!). Today I completed my last run of “week 1” 🎉, the first week starts with a 5 minute brisk walk to warm up followed by 60 seconds of running alternated with 90 seconds of brisk walking, this is repeated a total of 8 times before a 5 minute brisk cool down walk. As the weeks go on you slowly increase your running time until by week 9 you can run for 5K or 30 minutes continuously.
I have already seen an improvement in my runs in just the first week, inproving from 2 miles to 2.3 and today I even reached 2.5. My pace is improving and I am also hitting new records on my fitness tracker for fastest mile! Only small achievements, but achievements nonetheless and I’m celebrating them!!
So why running I hear you ask? Well first and foremost it’s free! Who doesn’t love something for free? Why pay for classes or gym membership when you can chuck on your kicks and fill your lungs with fresh air! Living in Cornwall there are lots of picturesque places I can run and I love this, taking in my beautiful surroundings as I work to be the best version of myself!! Every time you run, you’re running towards a fitter, healthier, happier you! If I still haven’t sold it to you then maybe this will… you can do it no matter your fitness level, we all start somewhere! You don’t have to run like an Olympian to get results, you don’t have to go fast, you just have to go!! Start small and build yourself up! Moreover, you don’t even have to feel like doing it, you just have to DO IT!!
- Where possible, run in the morning! Get up, get dressed and get out! It’s done then and you can go about your day! If you leave it until the evening we all know that, even with the best of intentions, motivation wavers and life can get in the way. The kids need picking up, the housework needs doing, dinner cooking, shopping etc etc and before you know it, the days over and you didn’t even get your trainers on, let alone leave the house!
- Plan! I like to plan the days I will run, if I write it down I’m more likely to get up and do it!
- Make it routine! Go to bed early, get up early. Train your body and in time it will adjust to the new habits but remember to give it time, lifestyle changes don’t happen over night!
- Get your gear ready the night before! Lay out your clothes, trainers, armband, headphone… whatever it is you need. Lay it out ready, so it’s the first thing you see when you get up! You will be ready and out the door quicker, less delays means less time to make excuses.
- Run with friends! Make a date, pick a time and place and just go. You’re less likely to make an excuse not to go if you have someone else relying on you to go too!
- Learn to control your breathing! This is something I struggle with but I am improving. You need to make sure you’re getting enough oxygen into your body so nice slow, deep, rhythmic breathing as much as possible will help. Try to avoid shallow, quick breaths. I’ve seen many people saying to aim for one breath every 2 strides. I also try my hardest to inhale through my nose and exhale through my mouth but I know myself that this isn’t as easy as it sounds when you’re running but it definitely helps to slow your breathing down if you’re on a recovery walk!
- Warming up and cooling down are so important. You need to stretch your muscles, this will help to lessen any after ache! Foam rollers are also great for post run (you can find videos on using these on YouTube)
- Find what motivates you! It might be commuting to an event/run that’s coming up. Smashing a goal you’ve set yourself. Treating yourself to new workout gear. Getting back into that party frock. Or even just remembering how good you feel after a run!
- Maintain a healthy diet. Quite frankly, there is sod all point in running if you’re gonna head straight to Maccy D’d after and fill your face with crap! A healthy, balanced diet with provide your body with the energy it needs to run and will also enable your body to repair itself and replenish your glycogen stores afterwards. Plus if you’re long term goal is fat loss, a healthy diet is essential in order to achieve this! (Diet is a whole other subject though that I don’t want to go off on a tangent with so I’ll cover that another time!)
- Make yourself accountable! I use social media for this! Tell people you’re going for a run and I bet you something, you will go cause you won’t want to be that person who always says it but never does it!!
- Good running shoes are essential! You need shoes that are comfortable, shock absorbing and well fitting. Some sports shops offer running analysis where they can check your gait and ensure you have the correct shoe for your feet. Don’t go for shoes just because you like the colour or they’re cheap, make sure they are right. You may have to pay a little more than you’d like but it’s definitely worth it, you’re much less likely to suffer from an injury if you have the right kicks!
- Try to ensure you maintain good posture whilst running. Head straight, shoulders back and down and keep looking forward (this will help with opening your airways too!). Keep your hands relaxed (don’t clench your fists in other words!) with your arms at 90• angles and use them to propel you forward as you run! Try not to lift your knees too high and aim to land on the middle of your foot. Try to lean your entire body forward slightly too (unless you’re running downhill then you want to lean back slightly 😂)
So there we have it. If this post can motivate just 1 person then awesome job! I would love to hear other people’s tips for running… what motivates you? What keeps you going?
Watch this space and I’ll keep you all updated on my progress.
Onwards and downwards
x O x