This morning I woke up to a message from a friend about me and my vamped up dedication to running; ‘’How do you get into it? I need to start doing it – I wanna do it’’.
A number of friends have reached out to me saying they ”want to run” over the past few weeks. This post is dedicated to those who have asked, those who have wondered where to start and those who (on reading this) might give it a go too …
Running was not a part of my life. Horses were everything. Running took place in school and that was it. I’m not a natural born runner, nor are any of my family that I’m aware of.
WHERE IT BEGAN.
I did a charity run with work in 2012 (see cute pic above for evidence). I didn’t really train and remember finding 5km bloody hard! I didn’t think I would make the last lap!. But I did and was proud to cross the finish line. I’ve since been running on-and-off since 2013, I used to go through the streets of London before work. It was more for fun and keep fit (aka lose weight so my skinny jeans looked better). All my real effort went into work and parties!. Of course.
WHEN I NEVER THOUGHT TOO MUCH ABOUT IT.
Travelling the world did not come complete with a runners guide to life for me. It was too hot and I was too busy adventuring, learning about life, getting my heart trodden on and having all of the fun. Running was not on my bucket list. ”Travel first. Do real life later” mindset. I did run while in Queenstown and also back home on a visit in London but it was nothing to write home about.
WHEN I GOT BACK INVOLVED.
When I came back to Sydney in February 2016, I started running regularly. But this was alongside work and heavy weekends. I never missed work, I never missed a party – I often missed running. Running ‘5 or 6 days a week’ would often become ‘I went Thursday and Friday, that was it’. But I was trying – just sometimes (a lot) I failed. I wasn’t taking it seriously and therefore I couldn’t always physically do it all. I ran the 14km City2Surf (see more cute evidence below) after one hours sleep. I had got in at 8am that morning from an all night party. Lay down for an hour then got back up to go. So, yeah I was trying to factor running in, but something had to change at some point …
WHEN I REALISED ”RUNNING IS LIFE”
Over the last six weeks or so, I have set out to make running a MAJOR priority in my life. My morning sessions are not ‘’recovery runs’’ from the weekends antics, where I often had to ‘’mind over matter’’ to remind myself I ”needed” this workout. My morning runs are now full of energy and incorporating circuits, a lot of hill work, hundreds of steps per session and also push ups, dips and squats.
I ran 14km last weekend to test my fitness and it felt like a fun run. I am running the Sydney Half Marathon the 21st of the this month and beyond that I’ll sign up to the Sydney Marathon in September.
Rather than take 10 years to make running a serious and meaningful part of your every-day life like I did, you can start today with these tips to get you going.
- Start walking. Walk everywhere, walk to work, skip the escalator in favour of the stairs, walk the dog, walk to the shop. Walk. Walk. Walk.
- Find your feet. Pick a route you like the look and feel of and have a little jog. Don’t worry about your style of running or what you look like, just have a little jog in your own time and see how you go. I’m talking like 5 to 10 mins of steady jogging once or twice a week, easy does it. Even once a week is a big YES if you’re just starting out.
- Buy comfy active-wear that makes you feel good. It doesn’t have to be expensive but it does have to make you feel good. Plain black is always a winner if you feel out of shape – buy things that you want to put on. They need to fit you properly – it’s not going to be easy jogging in joggers you usually wear to chill out in. You only need one set to get you started.
- Invest in trainers that are right for your feet. I wear Nike and they are expensive AF (because they are Nike!) but I LOVE them so they are worth every dollar to me. But you don’t need Nike, go to a store and get some advice for whatever type of running you’re thinking about doing – look after your feet.
- Run a route that circles back to your start point. Before I was fit (and doing long distances/ circuits) I used to always think ‘’I don’t like coming back on myself because it feels like I haven’t got anywhere’’. So with that in mind I would choose routes that started and end in the same place but the route itself didn’t repeat, so I felt like I was getting somewhere, like I was always making progress.
- Ignore the hard stuff. Don’t do hills and steps – focus on flat and easy tracks that will be achievable while you’re building fitness.
- Use a fitness app to track how you’re going – I use MOVES. It told me I had run 47km the other week and I was buzzing, that’s an average of around 7km per day (and I don’t run every day). Little boosts from your notifications remind you you are on the right track.
- Don’t run every day. If you can do 5 days a week that’s amazing, you will pick up fitness in no time. If you can only manage 1 or 2 that’s good too – anything is better than nothing, make it work for your lifestyle.
- Have a day off whenever you can’t be assed. This morning I CBA to run my third (planned) circuit so I replaced it with hills and step work. Some days I think ‘’F*@K it, not today!’’ and I just end up walking or turn around and go home. I’m never hard on myself on days like this and know I will always be ‘’fresh tomorrow’’. If I’m not enjoying it, it’s not my day for a run, that’s all there is to it.
- Music is life. Spotify is my best mate when I run – Kanye West ‘Stronger’ is my track of choice when I am at my limits, it never fails to spur me on. Find music you like to help push you when you’re flagging. Or download Podcasts so you can learn on the go.
- Keep hydrated. I have a full glass of water before I go out and one again, right away when I get home. If I am on a long run I bring a ½ empty bottle of water with me (annoying to carry but you’re not get very far dehydrated!).
- Stretching first thing in the morning is one of my fave ways to get ready to run – I stretch my arms, legs, back, neck and shoulders. If you’re not sure what kind of stretches to do check out this website. You MUST stretch to look after yourself. It also feels damn good after sleeping all night.
- Give up. If you find that running genuinely isn’t for you – it doesn’t matter, you tried. Some people hate it! Find a form of exercise that works for you. Anything that makes you feel good, gets you breaking a sweat and helps to you keep healthy is a clear winner.
THINGS THAT APPLY TO ME (YOU MAY / MAY NOT FIND HELPFUL)
- Don’t weigh yourself. I don’t own a scales and have no need for them. But I know I am fortunate that I am always a size 8-10. Weighing may be something you are in to but for me personally, I rather go by what I see in the mirror, how my clothes fit and how my body feels when I run – you can feel when you have lost weight, it’s less to pull while you’re working out!
- Take selfies. If, like me, you do a lot of things on your own – it’s good to take selfies to track your body progress (if you are keen to see what shape you’re getting in to). I always share a lot of pics on my social media profiles, I like keeping an open diary.
- Don’t eat. I used to eat fruit pre-run but if it’s a morning workout I find I have eaten enough (and slept all night) to keep me going. I have cereal when I get home. But this depends on the time of day that suits you. Obviously I eat all day if I plan to run at night, just not an hour or so beforehand to avoid stitch.
- Get up for sunrise. I live for sunrises!. Running at / into the sunrise is a really invigorating feeling. But you may prefer to stay in bed and work out at night. Whatever time you go, I recommend running outside if possible, get close to nature and enjoy that fresh air!
- I prefer to run alone. I can go at my own pace and do my own thing. You may find it easier to go out with a friend/ join a club full of people to keep you motivated. I motivate myself and I never cut corners – if you do that you’re only cheating yourself.
- Use it as a self-help tool. I am throwing everything I have into running right now and will continue to do so, it clears my mind, makes me feel alive and reminds me that life is pretty special if I’m having a bad day.
- Use it as time to make plans for your future. That hour of running gives you so much time to yourself – I make some of my best decisions on the run.
- Run for confidence. I could run smack bang into someone I was scared of, worried of seeing or never wanted to cross paths with and feel invincible. There is no beating down the post-run buzz.
- Give back to charity. I am planning to raise money during the marathons I have planned.
- Run to get over heartbreak. There is something about running that gives you clarity, in times of despair or hurt, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
I am no expert on running but I know how to do it, because I found my own way – if you’re new to it, you need to do the same. Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to fail.
To me, ”running is life” because it never lets you down – and that’s one of the best things about it, all you need to get up and do it is you. No one else. Get out there and reap the benefits!
Running mends hearts, heals minds and makes for a better, happier, healthier future.
***Bonus Tip no.23: Let’s not forget the BODY you earn for yourself – say hello to running and hello to the best shape of your life! Fact!.
Thank You for reading. Please leave any comments and please share with anyone who may enjoy/ benefit from reading this post.