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It’s all very well setting a new year’s resolution to ‘run’, but what does that actually mean? I’ll tell you now, if you’re just vaguely hoping that you’re going to run a bit more/better/faster in the coming year – it’s not going to happen. You need to have the right mindset and a progressive set of achievable aims.
So here are 10 tips for getting going this coming year (number 2 is the hardest to do but the most important):
Something that is at the very limits of what you think you could achieve (p.s. most people are capable of doing a little more than they think is their limit). This could be running a 5k non-stop (if this is the case, the NHS Couch to 5k course is great). 10k, 10 mile or marathon, the choice is yours.
Seriously the number of excuses I hear from people for not running. I’ve written at length here about why the human brain will find every reason not to run. In fact here are some responses to the excuses that your energy saving brain will come up with over the year:
I’m yet to meet a horrible runner. It’s true! Joining a running club will surround you with a support network of like-minded, similarly motivated individuals, all of whom will help you on your way to running improvements. Club training sessions will give you a specific, non-negotiable time slot to go running and most have coaches or experienced runners brimming with advice.
If you’re looking to set a goal for achieving a distance or time then booking in to a race can provide the motivation. Make sure it’s a really expensive one that doesn’t do refunds, so you don’t go getting any second thoughts…
This is a free, timed weekly run happening at public spaces up and down the country and around the world. For those just starting out, it can be set as a target event to complete by a certain period. For those looking to improve on existing times, it provides a regular benchmark for your fitness.
As with anything in life that is a challenge, only those who really want to succeed will achieve what they set out to. It has to come from within, won’t work in the long term if you’re just trying to keep other people happy. Think about the benefits of running, visualise crossing that finish line. When I was marathon training last winter in freezing, horizontal rain, it took a lot to open to door and step outside, but a vision of seeing my goal time as I crossed the finish line worked every time.
Some people find that they actually prefer early morning runs, whilst others do better in the evening. One of the biggest excuses to not run is people saying that they don’t have the time. We all have 24 hours in a day, you might just need to be a little more creative and efficient. Getting up at 6am rather than 7am is awful for about 5 minutes, but the warm glow of satisfaction lasts all day. Like-wise, if you have showers at work then pop out at lunch, or do what I do and take your kit with you and run straight after work for 40 mins, by which time the rush hour traffic has died down and I get only home 15 mins later than I would usually!
This works both long term and very short term. For example, my goal this year is a 2:55 marathon. Ok, so to do this I need a plan. It’s an 18 week plan of which the first week began on 19th December. The first session of the first week was a 9 mile aerobic run on Tuesday. In my head, a 9 mile run seemed awfully long, so I broke this down into a 2 mile warm up, 5 miles of running laps around a lake and then a 2 mile warm down.
Another psychological one but I find it easier to begin a 6 mile jog than a 10k run. Even a marathon sounds better as 26.2 miles as opposed to 42.1k.
Strava is a social network for runners and cyclists allows you to befriend other runners, join online clubs and track your mileage. For the competitive among you, Strava Segments turn streets and paths into virtual race zones, with individuals trying to claim ‘crowns’ as the fastest over different distance.