Running is a form of meditation. It allows us to clean our mind, forget about all of our problems and just enjoy. Along with an endless list of health benefits such as better sleep quality, higher energy levels, healthier cardiovascular system and much more, you get a list of psychological benefits too. The endorphins released during running lead to a significant mood improvement. The success to run faster or for a longer distance makes you feel proud of yourself and the feeling of pushing your own boundaries does wonders to your self-esteem. I could continue talking about all those benefits on and on, but I prefer to actually show you how you can get into running if you want to.
Make it fun – As my suggestion in about 100% of questions about how to get something done, the best key is always to make it fun for you. Now, with running, it’s tough sometimes to enjoy the repetitive movement itself, so why not spice it up with some music. Get yourself a good playlist and see how it boosts your performance and motivation. Another way to motivate yourself is to choose a reward-system. For example, each km you ran this week will gain you a few pounds cash to spend on yourself, or you can set a km price for getting something you really want. Also, if wearing nice workout gear makes you feel better with working out, or repeating mantras in your head (like “I can do it”) works for you, go for it. You can try to start with more simple motivation like setting small goals during the run and enjoy competing with yourself. Running buddies can help a lot if you’re not all about “Me Time”, just make sure you have a similar fitness level so you both can keep up. If you’re more of a group person, you can join a running club.
Apps – Today we use apps for everything, so why not check out some running apps. There are plenty of those in the market and they include GPS tracking, you can see estimated calorie burn, speed, pace, distance and overall workout summary. You can get social by sharing your workouts, some of the app have different challenges and even “personal trainers” which is a nice feature that helps you to test your fitness level and build workouts that suit you and guide you through.
Schedule and track – If you want to get into running you need to start running. We all have busy lives, so scheduling your runs as you’re scheduling your appointments and work is the best way to make time for it. It is all about taking yourself seriously and being committed to yourself as much as you’re committed to your work and family. Track the days you run and your performance to have it visualized.
Programming – If you weren’t able to run for longer than a few minutes or at all until reading this, it is kind of clear that you can’t go outside now and miraculously start running for an hour straight. Programming is the key here. Nothing works better than having a personal trainer to teach you proper running techniques and to manage your personally adjusted training program which will work the best for your body while there is someone who makes sure you minimise your chances for injuries. You can find different deals like working out with your trainer 3 times a week, a weekly workout with homework or a few workouts to get you tested and started and a program that you can continue by yourself. If you can’t afford to invest in a personal trainer, you can find online programs for each level, joining a group class or try and build a program yourself. Now, I do have to put a disclaimer over here and say that if you’re not qualified for exercise programming it is not the best idea and you might get injured or just have a lack of progress so please see the next paragraph. In this case you have to listen to your body and make sure the effort increase is very gradual. Try starting from a 20 minute fast walking sessions and weekly either add 5 more minutes or incorporate short running intervals into the workout. Then, when you can survive your desired workout time, you can make the running intervals longer and your fast walking “rest time” shorter. Keep it gradual, your workout is supposed to be challenging but not too hard.
Listen to your body – Always remember that your body is your friend. This awesome machine is smarter than any computer. If something is painful, then something is wrong and you shouldn’t push yourself that way. By any means, you should push yourself out of your comfort zone to create a change and an adaptation, but if it is too much for your body, it will tell you. You and your body are in the same team.
So grab your earphones, put on your neon-coloured workout gear, some running shoes and head out for your run!