9 Ways To Keep On Running If You’re Starting Out And Are Thinking Of Stopping Forever.
All of my previous attempts to run failed dramatically as I was expecting too much, too soon of myself. I’d run 10 times a week for half an hour and be depressed at my lack of progress and quickly gave up when I realised it wasn’t an easy task.
Here are some tips that have helped me continue on as a runner now for over 30 months.
- Start as you mean to go on – If you are starting out don’t over exert yourself on your first ever run. Take it easy and give yourself something to build upon. In past attempts to get fit I would put my heart and soul into my first ever exercise and end up exhausted for days afterwards. I’d then try to emulate the run a few days later and be frustrated that I hadn’t magically progressed in 72 hours. If you start small and build your way up then over time you will improve your fitness and your stamina.
- Don’t over complicate things for yourself – If you’re new to running, buy some shoes, a t-shirt and shorts and go outside and move one leg after another. That’s all there is to it. When I started out I took the advice of all of the running magazines and was fully suited out for battle with bizarre tights, reflective coats and stretching programmes. By the time I actually got to running I’d taken in so much conflicting advice that I forgot the basic thing of moving one leg in front of the other. Remember part of the business model of running magazines is to sell you shit you mostly won’t need so they can stay in business.
- Set the right goals – “I’m gonna run x times a week” type goals are bad goals to make. Why? Well why are you gonna run x times a week? What’s the purpose? To get fit? How will you know when you ‘get fit?’ The truth is that you’ll never ever hit a point where you feel fit as you’ll always see others who are more athletic than yourself. You’ll quickly feel hopeless and give up as you’re striving for a goal that’s impossible to attain. That’s why I recommend entering a race and using it as a target initially. That way you have something in the short term to work towards e.g. “I’m running 4 times a week to run a 5k race in 30 minutes”.
- Remember that someone has been at your current level before and ran a 5k/10k/marathon – It can be tempting to think that no one as unfit as you has ever has completed a 5k/10k/marathon. I know I felt this way when I was struggling to run a kilometer on the treadmill. The journey from newbie to long distance runner is often a long and a lonely one and peppered with self doubt. Regardless of where you are now someone has been in your position before and succeeded. Keep making baby steps forward and move into a position where you’re stronger today than you were tomorrow. Finish each day strong even if it’s went badly.
- Don’t expect too much too soon – If you have been sedentary all your life then expecting yourself to run the marathon next month is a big ask. You’ve gotta realistically assess where you’re at and move on from there. Don’t be ashamed if you can only run 20 meters. You can progress and move on from there.
- Burnout is the biggest threat to your running in the early stages – In my previous attempts to get fit I’d incorporate intensive amounts of exercise along with radical calorie restriction in order to make an impact quickly. I’d start out with the best intentions but give up the treadmill after a fortnight at most. Start slow and build your way gradually into a position of power. It won’t happen overnight. You’ve gotta remain consistent and be tenacious.
- Don’t wait to create the perfect plan – I started off by setting to run my first marathon after I’d been on a 2 week drink binge through Central Europe. If I’d been sensible I would have entered a 5k race when I was a bit slimmer. Enthusiasm can be a great thing though. If you thrash out a feasible but ambitious plan to run a marathon and you’re really fucking excited about it, then go get it. Just make sure you do the prep work and keep focused. Creating smaller sub goals along the way can help. For instance part of my plan to run the marathon involved running a 5k, a 10k, a half marathon and then a full one!
- Be careful who you accept advice from – I’ve been offered plenty of advice off people who have burned out and got injured. Some have even told me that my race times are shit and that I should be aiming for a certain time in a half marathon in order to be a real runner. As a rule of thumb I only ever take advice off those who are still actively running and enjoying it.
- You’ve gotta make running your bliss – For the first few months I fucking hated running as I was testing myself against the standards of others and making myself truly miserable. I only started enjoying running when I went out on morning runs alone in 2011. I wasn’t focused on time or distance. I just wanted to be alone with the morning and my thoughts. Over time I enjoyed this more and more and now I can safely say I’ve found my bliss!