Take up running in 2014 - top tips.In 2012 we booked our first 6 spaces in the British 10K and, as the only staff member without a valid excuse, I felt obliged to sign up. Not one to exercise regularly and seriously lacking in willpower, I had no idea where to begin. My previous attempt (singular) at long-distance running was at school 16 years earlier, only because I was forced to. A few months after signing up to run however, I was surprised to find myself running 3 times per week and loving it. Everything I’d heard about exercise and endorphins was true - running put me on a natural high - and I’d managed to find a few strategies that helped keep me motivated. Here are my tips for getting motivated to go running:
- Build up slowly: I used the free NHS Couch to 5K (C25K) podcasts to start out. They gave me a clear structure and schedule to follow and helped me build up stamina and confidence slowly. I almost wept with joy when Laura, the instructor on the C25K podcast, told me ‘you’re a real runner now’.
- Plan your route: I use a website called MapMyRun that allows you to plan your running route, it tells you the exact distance of any route you plot, including off-road. I try to vary the route and run through areas where I can enjoy the scenery. I feel extra smug when I am up early enough to enjoy a beautiful dawn and I often stop take pictures using the camera on my phone (see pic). If I’m going away for a weekend or a holiday, I look at a map and plan a route. It's a really enjoyable way to explore an area (as long as you don’t get lost!)
- Entertainment: I update my music playlists regularly to keep me entertained and motivated. Some people have recommended listening to audio books too. Sometimes I run on a treadmill in my local gym. It has TVs on each machine so I look at the TV schedule and time my visits to coincide with something gripping (The Apprentice for example)!
- Equipment: I bought some fairly decent trainers and comfy jogging bottoms (you don't have to spend a fortune as a beginner) but always wear a silly t-shirt on top. My 'Vote for Pedro' t-shirt usually gets a smile from passers-by.
- The British 10K: Knowing that I was committed to run in an organised race for charity is what motivated me the most though. Having persuaded all of my friends, family and colleagues to sponsor me, I was determined to get fit enough to run the entire route in a decent time (I managed 1 hour 5). I felt so proud getting the medal at the end too – my first ever!
If you’d like to get started with running and need some motivation, why not sign up to run the British 10K for us in London on 14 July 2014? Email us for more information.