Today’s blog post is all about running! My relationship with running is a little bit rocky to say the least… I would say we have a very love hate relationship. But recently I have regained my love for running which is probably due to the emergence of summer weather, especially the lighter nights. I never used to like running or even walking in fact but I first started to gain an avid interest in it when I began to lose weight properly. Now I didn’t just wake up one day and suddenly I was a pro, instead I started off small and ran short distances every other day, about 1-2 miles which isn’t much but it was a starting point to progress from. Then soon enough I started to extend my distances and became a lot quicker in doing so. I would say my running style is more of a long distance runners style as I tend to stick to a comfortable speed and run at a steady pace for a longer period of time instead of short quick bursts like a sprinter. Everyone’s running style is different and unique to them, but I’m going to share with you 7 steps that help me with running.
1. Track your progress. Tracking your progress is essential if you want to improve your running or fitness as it enables you to monitor how far you are from your goals and serves as a benchmark for your exercise regime. In order to improve and see results you need to push yourself and go beyond your limits which requires knowledge of how you’re currently performing. I find the best way to achieve this is by tracking how far you’ve run, the total duration of running and your average pace. There are two running apps that I use to help me track these variables, one is Runtastic and the other is Nike+Run Club. They’re both excellent apps but I would say Runtastic is better if you want to sync the data with other apps such as Myfitnesspal and you can even plan your routes by drawing on a map.
2. Wear comfortable trainers. Wearing the right trainers is vital when running as you need the appropriate support and comfort levels. I actually went to a place where they get you to run on a treadmill and observe how you run in order to provide you with the best trainers to suit your running style. Something that I didn’t realise is that it is advised to go up a shoe size in trainers because when you run your feet get hot (obviously) and expand meaning that there is slightly more room needed. So I ended up getting a size UK 7 instead of my usual UK 6 in a pair of Sauconys which I would highly recommend to anyone as they are so comfortable and really cushion your feet.
3. Music. I can’t stand running or exercising for that matter without any music on because when that workout gets tougher I thrive on motivation from my upbeat music. One of my favourite upbeat artists to listen to is Sigala especially his song Give me your love as there’s such a good beat in the background to run to. Also I tend to listen to music whilst I’m getting ready to go for a run as this gets me pumped up and in the mood to go and kick it!
4. Plan you route beforehand. Just like you would plan your exercises at the gym I would strongly advise planning your running route as well. For me, the worst thing is not knowing where I’m going or when the run is going to end as this serves as a definite demotivator and doesn’t end well. Just like in the film Run fat boy run when the guy is running the marathon and hits the ‘runners wall’, this is me half way through my run wanting to give up if I haven’t planned a route because I can’t see an end to this. You don’t have to physically write down the route, just have it roughly mapped out in your head to avoid the risk of runners block.
5. Stretch. If I’m being truthful I never saw the importance of stretching before or after exercising but oh have times changed and now I see what people mean. I used to just get up and go out for runs without stretching but that really isn’t good for your bones or your body in general. So to avoid clicky knees and ankles I spend roughly 5-10 mins stretching before and after my runs. It’s nothing too strenuous or difficult, just waking up my muscles ready for the high impact that comes with running.
6. Mind over matter. Just like I mentioned with runners block, a lot of the time the key to succes with running or any exercise is maintaining a positive and motivated mental state. I went for a run the other day and throughout the whole run I was putting myself down, constantly worried about what people were thinking of me and how I looked, which then of course made me want to just give up. But this was wrong of me. If you allow yourself to think these negative thoughts then unfortunately you won’t progress or improve. You mustn’t give in when times get tough and you mustn’t feel paranoid when running. I know it’s hypocritical for me to say this as my run the other day was a classic example of all things negative but I’ve learnt from my mistakes and now embrace it as experience.
7. Mix things up. It’s important not to get too comfortable in your running routine as you just get used the same route and end up not pushing yourself further. To tackle this I have about 5 different routes that I run and will just pick whichever one I feel like on the day, whether that be a scenic park route or running in the city, it usually depend on my mood. Plus for each of these routes I plan out ways to extend or shorten it, to add to the variety and offer alternatives for when I perhaps haven’t got much time or when I feel like running for longer.
I hope these steps are useful. I just want to point out that I’m not a running pro but I’ve just found what works for me. This isn’t a rigid guide to running, it’s just a few steps that I’ve learnt along my journey with exercise and it’s always open to interpretation.
Be True Be You.