Monday, 23 June 2014

8 Tips to Having a Great Run, Every Run

I have a very strange relationship with running. There are runs that I absolutely LOVE. When I'm done, I feel like a rock star. These runs happen about 60% of the time. The rest of the time...I'm miserable. About 5 minutes into the run, I want to give up and I've convinced myself my calves are going to break. I'm tired, I'm sweaty and kinda grumpy. That's also if I've even gotten out the door. For about 1 year now, I simply haven't run because I can't get past the anxiety in my head!

So...if you want to run, or if you are like me and love running, but have some weird hang ups with it, here are the tricks I've been using to get out of my head and back into running [note: this tricks can really be used for getting yourself out the door for any form of exercise].

Sometimes the hardest part of running is just getting out the door. I'm sure you have 100 reasons why you can't go for a run today. Either you're "too tired" or "don't have enough time" or "I'll go tomorrow" whatever it is, there will ALWAYS be a reason.

TIP 1: No matter what, just put on your workout gear and get out the door. I'll often trick myself into going out by saying "OK, even if I only go for 5 minutes, I at least got out" Give yourself an out so the whole task doesn't seem as daunting.

Ok, so now you're out the door. AWESOME! Time to start...

TIP 2: Have a playlist of music that is going to pump you up. I like to listen to cheesy dance music from the 80's because I can sing along and it makes me smile. I also have some great "kick ass" songs that I go to if I need a boost like "Work B*tch" by Britney Spears. Whatever it is that gets you going...put that on and start jogging

I find that when I run with people for the first time, they start off like a shot and about 5 minutes in, they are spent. They get frustrated and are upset that they have to stop and walk.

TIP 3: Start SLOWLY. If you feel yourself running out of breath quickly, you're probably going too fast. Drop your pace down. You may feel like you are walk/jogging but that's ok! You want to go at a pace that you could hold a light conversation at.

TIP 4: Pay attention to your breathing! You want your breathing to be calm and not rushed/hurried. If you find yourself REALLY panting, SLOW DOWN. I find a very useful trick to regulate my breathing is: Breath in for 4 steps, breath out for 4 steps. This gets your brain re-focused and better breathing makes for a better run.

Okay, at this point, you're probably doing OK, but your legs are tired and you're kind of bored. At this point, your head will start trying to trick you and go "Lets just walk. Your legs are really tired and your sort of out of breath. Just walk"

TIP 5: Unless you are going to pass out or you have a sharp, stabbing pain...DON'T STOP. This is alllllll in your head. When I get to this point in a run, I go "ok, I'm going to get to that tree up there and then I'll stop" and then I get to the tree and realize I'm ok so I'll pick another tree down the way and jog to that and so on and so forth. This keeps your brain occupied and off of the discomfort you are feeling in your legs (which is completely normal) and keeps YOU motivated.

In the same vein...

TIP 6: Try not to think about how much longer you have to run. Whether you're running for a period of time or for a specific KM, don't think about how much further you have to go until you're done...think about that next tree, that next stop light. If you think about how much further you have to go, you'll overwhelm yourself and this can be quite discouraging. Literally take your run, ONE STEP at a time.

Listen, sometime, you need to walk & that is TOTALLY OK. Sometimes, you'll hit a wall and you literally cannot continue running. That's totally normal too. The idea with these tips is not to force yourself to run NO MATTER WHAT, but are more meant to help you keep your motivation going and keep yourself in the moment and out of your head.

Two more tips that are KEY to any exercise, running or otherwise.

TIP 7: Stretch! When you're done, it is SO important to stretch. There are hundreds of great stretching resources out there for runners, so take the extra 5 minutes and stretch it out. I know if I don't stretch after a run my legs are NOT happy with me the next time I head out.

TIP 8: HYDRATE. Drink lots of water both before and after your run, especially if you are running in hot summer months. Your body needs fluids to function and your run will be greatly affected if you are dehydrated.

Running can be really hard, but with these tips, I've found my running experience to improve and I feel really good after almost all of my runs.

What are you tips/tricks for getting a great run in?

1 comment:

  1. These are so true. I've used all of these for runs and a few for regular workouts. I've even used the landmark idea of, "just run for 5 more driveways" or "up until that stop sign"! You're right though, the hardest part is starting. Once I get going, music keeps me going and when music fails, I have some mantras that now pop into my head. "You can do this. You're stronger than you think you are. You'll be done before you know it. Your legs are strong and can take you through this. This is giving you a nice butt!" Haha :)