10 Procrastination-Proof Ways of Running Better in 2017
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10 Procrastination-Proof Ways of Running Better in 2017

Rob Murray
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Rob Murray

Rob is a self confessed running geek, obsessed with all things related to the sport, whether road, track or triathlon.
Rob Murray
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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):

 

  1. Set yourself a stretch target for running a certain distance for the year.

    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.

  2. Stop making excuses

    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:

    • It’s raining – Running in the rain is refreshing and keeps your body temperature down as you run, here are more reasons to run in the rain.
    • It’s cold. That’s not even a valid excuse. Put on some layers but bear in mind that you’ll soon be wanting to strip.
    • I’ve got a cold. If you feel well in yourself and don’t have a cough to go with it, then you’re probably OK to run.
    • It’s boring. Turn this around and you’ll find running is a great time to mull things over in your head. How often in this day and age do you get 30 minutes truly to yourself? No kids, colleagues, friends, iPhone or TV to distract you, just your mind being carried along by your body, whilst your body is being directed by your mind. Sometimes, boring is good. Alternatively, run with other people – it’s amazing how freely the conversation flows during a group run.
    • I don’t like running in the dark. If you really don’t like the dark then it’s going to have to be the treadmill. Pick up a second hand one for under £100 or join a gym. If you’re just a bit unsure then running with a head-torch can be great fun – again, better with a group.
  3. Join a running club

    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.

  4. Enter a race

    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…

    Parkrun

    Parkrun

  5. Try parkrun

    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.

  6. Ask yourself, do I really, REALLY want to do this.

    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.

  7. Try running at different times of the day.

    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!

    Morning running

    Morning running

  8. Break everything down in to manageable chunks.

    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.

    Garmin Forerunner 225 review

    Switch to miles rather than kms

  9. Think in miles not kilometres.

    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.

  10. Join Strava

    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.

Author: Rob Murray
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