Some months it’s dark whenever you run. Some days are grey. Some days your body just says ‘Whyyyyy? Chocolate! Sofa!’
Maybe you’ve got a race to train for, or you’re trying to fulfil that goal of getting fit, or there are some pounds to lose. Yet when it comes to getting out the door for a run it seems like an uphill battle.
So, here’s how we at Run and Become overcome those days and still enjoy the heck out of our training.
On Sunday evening decide when you’re running the next week, schedule it in and don’t kid yourself with ‘I’ll fit it in when I have time’, be realistic. Then lie your kit out the night before / pack your work bag with your running kit / tell your partner you’re running home from work the next day. It’s harder to back out and you’ve made it easier as you don’t have to think of anything on the day.
2. RUNNING BUDDY
Plan a regular run once or more a week with a friend. Don’t focus on which of you is faster or who has to slow down for that run, either get a bit competitive in a fun way or use it as a healthy-in-more-ways-than-one catch up time. That’s my approach: getting fitter whilst cherishing friendship. My running buddy is our Marketing Manager, which means we encourage each other at the end of a long day. Alternatively join a running group - there are plenty in big cities. Don’t fall into the trap of ‘I’m too slow / can’t run far enough’, that’s rubbish; there’s a group for everyone, you just have to look.
3. ME TIME
Running with a friend is great but it’s also a complete gift to have me-time in this frantic world. What do you love about time to yourself? There are two podcasts I only allow myself to listen to when I’m running, so that’s a treat waiting for me when I pop on my running shoes. Try it, or reserve a playlist you love. When reluctance strikes, flip the thought ‘I’ve got to train’ to ‘In an hour I get to go outside in the fresh air, not be bothered by questions / demands / people and do my own thing for an hour’. Bliss!
4. SLOW DOWN AND SMELL THE ROSES
Okay, the roses have probably curled their toes up for the winter months! My point is there should be more to training than pushing yourself hard and piling on the expectations. Find something to enjoy on your route. If it’s a daylight run go through the park, slow down, and enjoy what the season has to offer (every season is beautiful in its own way). If it’s dark then run by the river and watch the lights playing on the water, or choose quiet side streets and get nosy looking in the windows! Just observe the world as it is on that day and gain some perspective along the way.
5. NEW KIT
Okay, appealing to our shallow side no doubt, but this works! Nothing gets me out the door faster than a new jacket; even new socks or gloves work. And to defend myself further, new kit should be ace kit, which means you’re better protected and helped in your training, so it’s practical.
We are human, we love a reward. So, if that’s a healthy juice from your favourite café or a hot chocolate and a piece of cake, or maybe a hot, aromatic bath, indulge! Mine? Well, probably the cake, let’s be honest, but also the wagging tail of a very excited dog when I get home.
7. GRATITUDE & SELF RESPECT
Remember why you choose to run. No, not the ‘I need to get fit / I need to lose weight / I signed up to a race as a bet’. I’m talking the real why, the other is only the inspiration. You could be doing other exercise, you could be doing nothing, but you choose to run – that means it’s valuable to you for a reason totally personal to you.
How many of your acquaintances match the effort you put in? Hopefully a lot, but either way respect your effort, respect your drive. Then, remember to be grateful. As a woman, I try to remember how darn lucky I am to be in a place where I can run freely, where reaction is at worst disinterested, and I have the limbs and health for it too. Sometimes it’s these thoughts that pull me up short when I’m whingeing.
“We run. We become. At every moment we are running to become something great, sublime, divine and supreme. At the same time, while we are becoming, we feel that we are in the process of reaching our ultimate Goal. But today’s goal is only the starting point for tomorrow’s new dawn. At every moment we are transcending our achievements; we are transcending what we have and what we are.”