Can I start with this preamble……..I would not describe myself as a natural runner.
But I can say proudly that I now love running. I run for enjoyments sake. I run despite the pain. I run because I love it. It clears my head. Works my muscles and leaves me feeling better afterwards.
One day I’d love to be one of those individuals who arrive at a never before visited city and take a breezy morning run around to see the sights. The reality is that I am not capable of that…….yet. But I’m enjoying the process of working up to it.
I have always had a slightly complicated relationship to running. As a teenager I was a good runner. As I mentioned in my story, I was a bit of a perfectionist. A type ‘A’ personality. I didn’t do losing. Every race I ran I liked to win, short or long distance. I sprinted and dragged myself over the finish line, in almost always first place because I gave myself no other choice. No surprises to hear me say that I didn’t enjoy running one bit. Instead I found it stressful and the pushing of myself past the pain left me feeling stressed.
One positive since recovering from anorexia in my teens is that I now no longer need to be the best at everything anymore. That includes running! It’s been delightfully freeing!
Three years ago I committed to making my health a priority. To boost my self-confidence as much as for tone and fitness. I also decided it was more than time for me to get back into running again and to actually enjoy running for the first time.
I can’t tell you how to be a runner but I can share with you some tips on how I’ve come to enjoy running again. A goal that to me is much more pleasurable to work towards than a goal that sees me dragging myself across a finish line in first place with a new best time.
Where do you put the pain and the tired?
The pain that comes with running is often the one single thing that stops people from starting to run in the first place. The pain makes it feel all too hard.
Everyone who runs a marathon gets tired and experiences pain in some part of their body, including professionally trained athletes. Everyone.
There are no books titled “How To Run Without Getting Tired Or Feeling Pain”. That’s because you can’t, it’s physically not possible.
To start running all you need to do is find a place to stick the tired and the pain. It’s not about avoidance, it’s about being able to temporarily shelve those feelings and run anyway.
Two Tips To Help Shelve The Tiredness And The Pain
These two forms of distractions work for me. Helping my mind to embrace whatever feelings my body is experiencing or pushing through.
Yes in real life I’m doing some form of interval training on the treadmill but in my mind…..in my mind I could be anywhere.
Maybe I’m running a race. Playing soccer or basketball again. Maybe I’m running around a city and admiring the sights. I can tell you where I’m not in my mind, I’m definetly not on a treadmill. Whatever motivates you personally to run that little bit harder and further, take yourself there.
Sound It Out
When I go for a run I make sure I come prepared with a playlist of music I know will keep me motivated.
I continually update one playlist. Removing songs I’m tiring off and adding songs that I’m currently loving. Music for me is the perfect distraction.
I mix it up. Fast songs to keep me moving and slower songs for those magic moments where I’ve eased into a pace and I’m really enjoying my run.
Here is my current updated playlist in case you are needing some inspiration to add to your own. I like to keep my playlist on shuffle and I am quite fond of the repeat and skip function also. It depends on my mood! Don’t judge me for my taste in music!!
1. Unforgettable- French Montana
2. Toxic- Britney Spears
3. Why Can’t I Touch it- Buzzcocks
4. Say Something Loving- The xx
5. Hate Street Dialogue- The Avener
6. Memory Gospel- Moby
7. Thunderstruck- ACDC
8. In My Blood- The Veronicas
9. Wild Ones (feat Sia- Flo Rida
10. Sugar- Robin Schulz
11. Don’t You Worry Child- Swedish House Mafia
Whether you run outdoors on indoors on a treadmill like me, make sure that you choose a goal to run towards that is inspiring to you. I currently enjoy interval training. Running my heart out (generally 80% my maximum speed) for 30 seconds and then resting for 30 seconds for a total of 20 minutes. But maybe you would like to run 5kms without stopping for the first time, complete a particular race, or run for a certain period of time without walking. There are lots of wonderful apps that you can download onto your phone that can coach you to do any of those things and track your progress at the same time.
Ease yourself into a program. Start slowly if you are new to running. There is no point in running your heart out one day and not being able to move for a day or two afterwards and never running again as a result!
If you start running consistently (say 2-3 times a week), I promise you that before you know it you will start looking forward to your runs and you will feel disappointed when you can’t make it.
Tell me. Do you run? Or have a goal you would like to run towards?
To help you create your own sustainable (and enjoyable) health and wellness routine click here to my book A Vibrant Heart.