5 Tips To Get Back into Running
|Photo credit: Julia Raasch|
I've entered the Hackney Half Marathon! I think I've gone crazy.
Running a half marathon has always been one of my life goals. I was thinking about perhaps doing one next year, or the year after that and I suddenly thought, 'why not now?'. I'm fit, I exercise regularly, I luckily have pretty great health - and there's no time like the present! So I just signed up. And it's done. AND I'M RUNNING A HALF MARATHON.
I now have three months to get in tip top running shape. I'd love to complete it in two hours, but I'm not sure how realistic that is really; if I finish it in under 2:15, I'll be so so proud of myself and that's the target I'm aiming for.
Is anyone else running the Hackney Half? I'd love to have some company on the day, so drop me a message if you'll be there or you're thinking about entering too!
In the winter, I usually abandon my love affair with running. The dark nights, cold mornings and stark parks leave me feeling uninspired. Running in the sun is one of my absolute favourite things to do; nothing quite beats that feeling of freedom when you're running, listening to a killer playlist with the sunshine on your face. However, I’ve recently been rediscovering my love for running at various parks across London. Despite the cold weather, I've really enjoyed running outdoors.
Now, I know as well as the next person that it can be SO hard to get yourself out the door and start running. Even as an ‘experienced’ runner (ahem, I use the term very lightly), I can convince myself that I don’t have the energy, that I won’t enjoy it, that it’s too much effort, that I'll go later. I truly believe that the hardest part of going for a run is getting yourself out the door. If you’re new to running, you can catch my Beginner’s Guide to Running here, but if you're a returning runner, try these tips to get you back on that running track.
5 Tips to Get Back into Running
Create a Killer Playlist
Nothing gets me quite as excited for a run as a new running playlist (new active wear is a close second, though). I like strategically placing my favourite running songs at the 4-5km and the 6-7km mark as I find these milestones hard to push through. Some of my current favourite songs to run to are Run - Tourist (funnily enough), No Lie - Sean Paul ft. Dua Lipa, Talking Body (Kream Remix) – Tove Lo, and When a Fire Starts to Burn - Disclosure. All have a great beat to run to and definitely help get me into the running zone. The hardest part is trying not to sing along to them whilst out running (which I definitely sometimes do)!
Change Your Scenery
It’s amazing how quickly we get familiar with the same environment as humans. When I’m feeling a bit lacklustre about running my usual route, I use Google Maps to find somewhere new I can run, or simply do a search for 'running routes in London' - you could do the same for your area too! Having a change of scenery always makes me more up for getting out for a run and exploring a new part of London.
Set New Goals
Being able to measure your progress and see improvement feels good; it gives you purpose and drive. Setting achievable short and long term goals is a good way to measure your progress. If you struggle to keep yourself accountable, there’s nothing better to motivate you than a race date in the not-so-distant future. Whether that’s a 10km, half marathon or even just a 5km fun run, having a goal to work towards often gives me the motivation I need to get myself out the door and into my running shoes.
Don’t Put Pressure On Yourself
At the end of the day, running (like all exercise) should be for enjoyment, not punishment. Try not to see it as something you 'should' or 'need' to do. The language way we use in our self-talk can majorly impact our perspective on a situation. Forcing yourself to go out for a 10km run because you 'should do it' just isn't going to make you feel good about the run. Instead, just put on your trainers, plug in your ear phones and get out the door. You don’t have to run particularly far or fast to reap the benefits of moving your body.
Get a Running Buddy
Last summer, my friend and I always (read: usually) did the Park Run on a Saturday morning together. It set us up for a great weekend and it was a nice way to have a little weekly catch up too. We used to meet at a park in between where we both lived which kept each other accountable. On the odd week where my friend was away, I’m ashamed to say, I didn't actually go to the Park Run alone, so having a running buddy can sometimes be the motivation you need.
PS. I seriously recommend Park Run, especially if you're easing yourself back into running. The community aspect is really encouraging whilst having your run timed is a good incentive to give it your best shot. Find your nearest one here!