Running, ah running, we have a bit of a love/hate relationship going on. I hate doing it but I love how it makes me feel afterwards, I get a buzz knowing that I’ve been outside and done some exercise. I first started running when I was living with my sister in Putney, London about ten years ago. Around this time, I was eating really badly, gorging on wine, cake, pasta and cream and despite knowing that I had quite a serious muffin top, I was massively in denial. I weighed myself one day and nearly had a heart attack, as I saw I was tipping the scales at around 10 and a half stone. I’m a fairly small, at 5ft 3, so this didn’t sit well on me, literally. I made the decision then and there to go for a run. Possibly not the best decision at the time as it was a really hot day and I just about made it to the end of the road without my head exploding, but I made it to the park eventually after much sweating, huffing and puffing, and from that day on I tried to go running at least twice a week to get my bod fit.
After a few months of regular running, less cheese and cream, I had managed to loose the weight I needed to, and was back to a more ‘me’ size. I saw that running made a difference to my body, so its something I’ve always tried to stick too when I can. Now that I’ve had my baby, I find running a good chance for me to have some time on my own, it gives me some much needed head space. Some time away from the NOISE that is a small child. Recently I’ve been thinking of the things that help me run and I wanted to share these thoughts with you. If you’ve never run before and want to start, here are my top tips to get you going:
- If you really don’t want to do for a run, don’t! There’s nothing worse than running when you really can’t be bothered. All you can think about it giving up and turning around to go home so if you’re making up a million and one excuses not to go, don’t, just sack it off and go tomorrow. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t want to do something. Just make sure you DO go out tomorrow.
- Have confidence! When I’m out running, I hate going past parked or slow traffic as I think everyone is starring at me, or I think someone is going to shout something horrible about my wobbly bottom. To get over this I try and have confidence, or at least look confident. I hold my (steaming, bright red) head up high and run a bit faster. Who care’s what people think, you’re exercising, which is good, right?
- Get decent trainers – If you’re serious about running, go to a specialist shop and get them to check your gait. I went to went to Runners Need in Hampton Wick (Nr Kingston) and they were brilliant (for the record, I’m flat footed apparently ..) Be prepared to spend about £100 but its worth it for comfort and to cushion your feet correctly, don’t waste your time (or feet) wearing crappy old trainers that aren’t appropriate.
- Get kit that you feel comfortable in – I tend to buy my running clothes from Amazon which is great and cheap but obviously you can’t try things on beforehand, and I do find some of the tops a bit ‘clingy’, which isn’t so great if you’re self conscious about your tummy like I am! You need to feel comfortable in what you run in. If you want cheap stuff to get you started, go to Sport’s Direct or TK Maxx.
- Don’t run straight after you’ve eaten – Give yourself at least 45 minutes-1 hour to let your food settle, otherwise you might see it again fairly quickly, get stitch, need a poo (happened to me once on a run with my brother, he’s never let me forget it) or just have a rubbish run with your meal bobbing around in your tummy.
- Take on Water – In the hour before I go for a run, I take on lots of water. Personally (see point below) I hate carrying a water bottle so I prefer to hydrate myself before I run, this article agrees.
- What type of runner are you – Do you like carrying a water bottle or listening to music? Carrying a bottle is a good idea but it also might irritate you after a while. Listening to music can be motivating, but again you might not like having headphones in or having your phone attached to you. I hate carrying water and I often don’t listen to music as I find it gives me a headache. Trial everything out on a short run and get used to what you prefer.
- Work out how far you want to run before you go out – Loosely plot your route before you go out, and have a minimum and a maximum run. If you feel like you’re having a bad run and can’t do much, then do your minimum, however if you’re having an awesome run then you can try and do your maximum and make your run a bit longer. If you know in advance, then you wont dither.
- Stretching – I tend to run for about ten minutes or so then stop and to do some stretches. I find this means I’m properly warmed up. Then, after my run, the best cool down stretch for me is lying very close to a wall and putting my legs up straight. Do this for at least three minutes. This is a Tough Mudder post run stretch and is a great after running or any other sport. And if its hot outside, a cool dip in a pool helps too
- How far did you run? I use this easy website to check how far I ran afterwards. I’ve used other sites before but this is the easiest to just quickly look at your route.
There you have it, these are the things that I find help me run or at least get me out the door. Is there anything I’ve missed? What about you, do you run or avoid it like the plague?! Do you prefer the gym or do you do another type of fitness? Let me know!