How I Started Running (and Stuck with It)

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Running for beginners tips

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s moving. I’d much rather lie in bed with crisps and a bottle of Irn Bru than do any form of exercise whatsoever. According to the experts, however, my preferred lifestyle choice is incorrect and will probably result in requiring a crane to remove me from my house. In order to maintain my lifestyle of choice without the need for a crane, I figured I had to move and running was my preference. Sometimes I do press ups but only when no one is looking.

Running has been an occasional factor in my life for a good 4 and a half years now. The first time I willingly went for a run without a P.E teacher present was when the 2012 Olympic torch came through our town. From then on, I would run for a few months before giving up (usually when winter hit) and then would go back to it after a rather long hiatus. It was only last year that I really took to running and started to not only enjoy it but be hit with the desire to actually do it consistently.

Actually starting out was the hardest part (isn’t it always?). I would make excuse after excuse as to why I shouldn’t go for a run each day until I eventually decided if I didn’t go for a run that morning, I never would. I was being a total wuss because it was too much effort.

The way I managed to get myself out the door for my first run was to go into autopilot. I ate my pre-run snack (oranges or bananas), had a glass of water, put on my running gear, stretched and then bolted out the door before my brain figured out what was happening. Even now, this is the main way I get myself to go for a run. I have to zone out and go through my process without being fully aware I’m doing it until it’s time to start running.

I knew I’d never be able to really push myself during runs without some help so I downloaded an app I’d read about years ago. It’s called Get Running (I swear this isn’t sponsored) and it lasts for 9 weeks. The goal is to get you running for 30 minutes without a break and oh boy does it kick some ass.

The first week has you running for a minute eight times and then allows you to walk for a minute and a half in between each run. It builds up gradually until one week where you’re running for 5 minutes one day, 8 minutes the next day and then 20 minutes on the third day. It takes a lot of mental discipline and you have to really scream at yourself to not stop but it’s so worth it once you hit the final week.

Once I’d completed the Get Running app I tried to go it alone but I found I was a lot better when I had a target for each run. Upon that realisation, I downloaded the Nike Running Club app (again, not sponsored). The Nike Running Club app allows you to set up coaching sessions - which may include workouts from the Nike Training Club app – and also allows you to set speed, distance and time targets if you wish to do so.

It tracks your runs, calculates your speed per mile and lets you see where you were fastest and where you were slowest. Being able to actually track my run is my new favourite thing as it constantly puts me in direct competition with myself and I love beating previous speeds and distances.

Having new workout clothes also encourages me to get my ass in gear. I deliberately don’t buy a lot of items as I tend to shop in Adidas and Nike which aren’t always budget friendly but whenever I do buy something new, it leaves me itching to run. A lot of supermarkets have started to make some amazing workout clothes so if I’m looking for a bit of a boost, I’m heading straight to the clothing department in my local supermarket to see what’s up.

Sticking to a schedule that my apps create for me is probably the reason as to how I’ve managed to run on a regular basis. I get really frustrated if I miss a day due to laziness or other commitments and I channel that frustration into my next run. I still hate getting up in the morning and immediately going for a run and I really resent running in the dark thanks to it still being winter though.

Running isn’t easy especially when you’re just starting out but the feeling after you complete each run is indescribable. I adore the way I feel after a run and I love the increase in energy. It's sweaty, it hurts but so long as you’re disciplined and get yourself into the right frame of mind, running isn’t really all that bad, in fact, it’s oddly enjoyable.

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