If you are feeling unmotivated and looking to try a new challenge, here are some tips and suggestions to get you out of the house and onto the road for some adrenaline and mind focusing action. These tips and suggestions are from my own experience as I try to get back out there.
1. Start slowly. As a total beginner you should put on your running shoes and start by going for a brisk walk around the neighborhood. Just see how you go! I aimed to walk every second day for 30 – 60 minute but I listened to my body and if I was hurting or out of breath, I slowed down for a bit and some days turned around and cut the walk short, then had an extra rest day.
2. Consistency is the key. As a good friend of mine said if you go out and run more days in a week than you stay at home, then you are a runner, if not you are a “rester”. So easily converted, try and get out there at least 4 days a week.
3. Shoes. Now you are out there and have proven you are serious to yourself, go to a good running shop and get some decent running shoes. They don’t have to be the most expensive. They should also be kept exclusively for running, not going out in or popping to the shops. You general daily wear pattern if different to your running pattern and I developed an injury from running in my casual shoes.
4. Walk and Jog. When I was comfortable walking briskly for a good 40 minute I started introducing a jog. I like to run with a watch and I started out doing a 5 minute warm up walk then I set the timer on my watch and I jogged for a minute then walked for a minute. See how this goes and walk – jog for no more than 30 minutes initially.
5. Build up slowly. I started slowly, each week increasing the jogging time by a minute, but keeping the walking time between each jog the same. When I could jog 5 minutes and walk 1 minute consistently for 30 minutes and do this about 4 times a week consistently then I knew I was ready to start increasing my total run – walk time to an hour or to start increasing my running pace.
6. Listen to your body. If you go out and you are sore, then stop and give yourself and extra day to recover. If you are tired, have a shorter run or just walk. Your body knows best so listen to it and rest when you need to.
7. Drop the walking. Once you are comfortable running and walking start trying to drop every second walk. This is optional, I stuck to a 5 minute run, 1 minute walk strategy and I ran a 42km marathon eventually. I irritated everyone running next to me, but at the end I was ahead of most of the people I ran the first 21km with and I finished in excellent form. I was not sore or stiff as I ran as I trained and my body was used to this format. But most people want to drop the walking at this point.
8. Get a goal. Look in the paper and find an upcoming road race. Start with a 5km or a 10km and aim to finish. Do not worry about the time the point of a first race is to cross the finish line. Be proud of yourself.
9. Stay safe. Try and find someone to run/walk with, there is safety in numbers. Plan a route that has enough traffic so you are less likely to be attacked. My husband follows me in the car and drives from bus stop to bus stop as I do not have a running partner. He also follows me on a bicycle. Just be aware of your surroundings.
10. Enjoy! Always remember to look around you and enjoy the scenery. You see so much more when you are out running than when you drive past in a car. Early morning runs are great especially when you get to see a sunrise while you are out on the road and it does not matter whether you are in a built up area or not, sunrises are pretty spectacular anywhere.
It is always great to run with other people so find a running club or just some other like minded people to get out there with. I was always surprised at how good I felt after an early morning run and at how much more I appreciated the simple things, like a sunrise, or a hot shower at the end.
Hope to see you out there Tersia Connell
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