Tips for people intimidated by the running world.
I’ve run on and off for many years, but it took me a long time to call myself a runner. Despite working in the fitness industry – or maybe because of it – I had many assumptions about running. I’ve finally come to terms with my love/hate relationship with running, and so should you!
Running is the cheapest, easiest, most convenient way to keep fit, regardless of age, gender, size and experience. There’s only one rule: enjoy it!
1/ You run therefore you are a runner.
It doesn’t matter whether you run 5 times a week or once a month, if you run a marathon under 3h30 or take 1/2h to do 3K; if you enjoy pounding the pavement, you’re a runner!
Everyone has their own personal relationship with running. People have different reasons and goals: whether it is for general fitness, to lose weight, to participate in a race, to challenge oneself, for pure pleasure, as “me time”, as an addition to other training, as a moving meditation, to get some fresh air, everything’s good.
Don’t be intimidated by those running 50K+ a week, mixing interval training with hill running and fartlek sessions and talking about PB’s, pace, split times, heart rate, recovery time and so on. It’s ok to just walk and jog for 10 minutes. Everyone has to start somewhere! And feel free to stay where you are if that’s what makes you happy.
Meditate on this wonderful quote by John Bingham:
â€œIf you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.â€
2/ Know yourself.
Don’t force yourself to get up at silly o’clock on cold rainy morning to fit in a run if you’re going to hate it and be grumpy. If you really don’t want to, don’t. What’s the point? My guess is that for some of you, it’ll lead to a hatred of running and you might stop altogether (I’m speaking from experience).
I’ve run 3 half-marathons so far in my life. Just because I HAD to train, I suddenly lost any enjoyment in it and simply didn’t really train. And every single time, I stopped running for a while after it and promised myself I’d never do it again. Not a very positive approach.
I’m not saying to give up too easily! Sometimes, you just don’t feel like running but you make the effort and you end up prouder of yourself with a sense of achievement.
But if you start to find any excuse to not go, maybe give it a rest. There may be times when you go out for a run 2 or 3 times a week and times when you go once a month (or less). Some people like to have a structured plan and can stick to it, others prefer complete improvisation. You don’t have to do what others do.
As long as you keep your enthusiasm up, that’s all that matters. See for yourself what works best.
3/ Take part.
A great motivation for running is to take part in a charity race. The atmosphere, the cheering of the crowd and the excitement are second to none. You’ll want to experience it again!
There are always participants for whom it’ll be their first race, or that will walk as well as run, so there’s no reason for you to be shy and feel out of place. Actually, you’ll finally see that you belong there, as much as anyone else.
From one mile to a marathon, there are distances for everyone. Why not give it a go?
If you like the idea of running with other peeps for motivation and/or safety (especially in winter when it gets darker sooner), there are many running clubs in the UK and in particular in London (if not, you can always create one).
The cherry on top: they are usually free and offer different levels! The instructors are friendly and helpful and are used to dealing with people with little experience, so take advantage.
Check Nike, Sweaty Betty, Asics, Lululemon, etc.
If running is more of a lone activity for you, you can use apps that record your pace, distance, route and more. They’ll give some feedback and insight about your activities and you can take it to the next level by challenging yourself if you want to. And it’s a good way to get used to the vocab and look and sound like a pro in no time.
If you feel like this could useful for you, check Nike+ running, MapMyFitness and Runkeeper among others.