You Will Never Be In Shape Or Become A Better Runner If You Don't Act Today
When I was 270lbs I dreamt of the far off days where I'd finally get my shit together after years of sloth and become fit. I'd quickly return to reality and go and eat about 12 donuts and wheeze whilst walking back from the bakery,
Fantasy is fun if you like J.R.R Tolkien but I fucking hate that shit. It's better to act today and to make a stand against your old self.
You don't have to do anything drastic. If you're just starting out you can resolve to eat better today. Set a calorie limit and stick to it. Resolve to walk a mile. Try to run half a mile. Just take that first step and you'll never know where it can take you.
If you've been inactive all of your life you stand to lose nothing and gain the world. There is no better moment to change your life than now. No-one will save you from yourself in time, not even the perfect partner.
Start small and dream big. I did that on January 1st 2010 after year's of sweating about even the thought of walking.
If you're obese and are frightened about failure, then what's the other option? Continue on with your denial and hope the weight magically disappears? You need to acknowledge you have a problem and make baby-steps towards resolving it.
The important thing is that you do it all for yourself, not to appease the haters.
Get started today before you finally reach the point of no return.
Join A Community Like Daily Mile And Meet New Running Friends
Before Daily Mile I was using Garmin Connect exclusively. The only bad thing I can say about Garmin Connect is that it's a bit isolated, whereas with Daily Mile you can share your runs on the site and communicate with others easier.
They even have cute little widgets you can install on your blog like the Donut Meter below. It's nice little touches like this that can keep you inspired when the going gets tough!
The best bit for me as a Garmin Connect user is that you can easily sync your runs across from the Connect website without any hassle. I wish the same could be said for Running Free Online.
How To Prepare Yourself For A Run
Many people stretch, eat, drink, scratch their ass, go to the toilet, pray to Zeus from the West, count to 10 and then jump on the spot before running.
Me? I just get out there. My only preparation is making sure my GPS watch is setup properly. That's it. Half the time I don't even think about where I'm gonna run.
The more you complicate running with wacky warm-up procedures, the more likely you'll cancel your run altogether thinking…
Fuck this for a game of Chess, I'm back off to bed to fondle myself and read some Milan Kundera novels
In the mornings I don't even shower before going out. I figure that I'm out on my own, running away with people. If anyone comes up to sniff me then they deserve what they fucking get.
There's plenty of time later in the morning for a shower.
Get Into Your Running Gear As Soon As Possible.
If you're having trouble motivating yourself into a run, make sure your running gear is close at hand and put it on.
Most days I'll change my mind multiple times on whether I should jog or not. When I'm in my gear I'm more likely to be decisive and to get out there.
I fool myself into thinking that just because I'm wearing my gear, doesn't mean I have to go running right away.
Eventually I'll cave in and go out once the inspiration finally hits!
Remember That Every Mile Counts
These days I try to keep on my feet for as long as possible towards the end of the run, as I know that running will continue to get easier the longer I practice.
I don't bother with soul-destroying regimented speed sessions or running myself into the ground. I just try to go that little bit further every day. Sometimes I can't go further and that's OK. But whilst I still have the strength to go further I will and it make my tomorrow as a runner all the brighter.
Never underestimate what running even 0.05 mile extra per day can do for you as a runner. Distance quickly adds up and it all counts.
How To Get Up For Your Early Morning Run Without Sleeping In
A lot of the time in the morning I can barely be assed waking up, let alone running. One of my best tricks is to convince myself that I'm only gonna go on a mile jog around the block. By the time I'm at the half mile point I'll think to myself 'OK, I'll do a 5k.'
Once I'm finished I'll have ran a 10k!
The most important thing is to get out there and then worry about the running as it comes. Even if you manage a mile, you've still succeeded. If you'd stayed in bed then you wouldn't have ran at all (unless you're a sleeprunner, then I envy you!).
If I'm running in the morning I will put my alarm clock out of the reach of my bed so that I'm not tempted to press the Snooze button. It puts me in extremely bad form to start with, but once I've settled down I quickly get into the running mindset.
It's worth remember too that you'll feel much better through the day if you start your morning off with a nice run. It means you won't have to squeeze in a run late at night and can spend the day relaxing and doing your own thing.
When You Are Motivated To Run Twice In One Day And Your Body Feels Right
Then do it.
Some will say that you're overdoing it, but if you're feeling good within yourself then by all means go out again.
I rarely regret days where I run twice. The second run is usually more enjoyable than the first. It's almost as if auto pilot sets in.
If I can string a few days together in a week where I have two running sessions then I'll feel extremely strong and I'll be in a good mood for the duration of the day.
You Do Not Need The Help Of Others To Accomplish Your Running Goals
Have you always wanted to run a marathon?
What's stopping you from starting to train for one today?
Oh, no one believes that you can do it?
What has that got to do with you running 26.2 miles?
If someone starts believing in your ability to run, will your legs magically spring into action?
It's entirely up to you. Running a marathon or even a half marathon isn't as hard as others make out. If a completely lazy oaf like me can run 2 marathons and 6 half marathons then anyone can! It's just about starting small and believing in yourself.
You don't start believing in yourself by sticking your hand up your ass and patting yourself on the back. You go outside each day and run further than you did the last.
Relying on others to believe in you to fulfil your dreams is just an excuse because you feel low in yourself.
Only you can get yourself out of that rut. And you can do it now. It takes just one minute to change everything.
How To Keep Motivated When Your Progress Hits A Plateau
Up until the Liverpool Half Marathon 2012 I had ran a personal best in every race up to that point. In Liverpool I missed out on a new record by about 1 minute and was pretty gutted about this.
My training afterwards suffered and I fell back into the 'what's the point of running?' mentality. I quickly snapped out of this mood when I reflected on what was an excellent weekend away in a town I'd never visited before, meeting people I'd never have met if I'd stayed in my room feeling sorry for myself.
I got back into running straight away and ran the Larne Half Marathon 6 days later and 1 minute slower than Liverpool. This time I wasn't phased. I knew I was there for the atmosphere and the camaraderie rather than a new personal best (which admittedly would've been quite nice!
You can only work your way out of plateaus by continuing to run and enjoying it. If you stop jogging altogether then you'll undo all of the hard work you've put in over the years.
Remember You Don't Have To Set Personal Bests Every Time You Run
Running should be about relaxing too!
You cannot enjoy running every time if you're perpetually chasing your personal best.
Sometimes you'll just feel well off the pace.
Accept and enjoy your easy days, as it's those sessions that will allow you to recover and run at your best at a later date.
How To Gain Motivation For Jogging If You've Gained Weight
When I gain weight after a few weeks of not watching what I eat, I feel very self conscious about running outside.
I get irritated that I've let myself get back into this condition and the last thing I want to do is run.
But not running is usually what has caused the problem in the first place. I will not get thinner by just sitting about feeling sorry for myself.
And who honestly gives a damn if I've put on weight since the last time I was out?
If you run today then jogging again will be easier tomorrow. Flowing back into a healthy exercise regime will follow, as will the weight loss.
Setting Yourself Weekly Or Monthly Mileage Goals
What motivates me most is setting myself a weekly goal in terms of mileage.
For example this week I've set myself a 50 mile week target through the Garmin Connect calendar interface. Every time I run I can see how close I am to my goal in terms of a percentage value.
As you can see I'm at 12% of my goal and it's only Monday. I try to ensure that I run evenly through the week and get 14% closer towards my goal every day. It's better to run consistently throughout the week rather than cramming all of your miles in at the end. You're more likely to burn out or get injured that way.
My short term goals tie nicely into longer term targets as well. As a new year's resolution I pledged to run at least 100 miles every month in 2012. By setting myself weekly targets of 40 or 50 miles a week and achieving this twice or more in a month, I'm well on the way to meeting my expectations. As of June 2012 I've kept to this goal even though I was out of action for nearly a week.
Reward Yourself Regularly For Meeting Your Goals
Every time I complete a marathon I treat myself to a week away in the sun, where I'll do no running and lounge around for a while.
I find this motivates me throughout the year and reduces the possibility of burn out. I love preparing for a marathon, running it and then relaxing again. It's a cycle I want to continue with throughout my life.
How To Keep Your Running Motivation Up As A New Runner.
If you're new to running then the chances are that you've felt frustrated with your training program at some point.
The key to maintaining your running motivation is to try to make it fun. Join a local running club. Enter a race event. Start an online blog and record your training routines and thoughts on running.
Eventually running becomes a means to an end. I run every week so that I can enter half marathons and meet up with friends at the same time. If running becomes a social routine, then you're much less likely to pack in the sport altogether.
How To Maintain Motivation When Running On A Treadmill In A Gym.
If you've ran on a gym treadmill then you'll know that it can be boring.
Listening to music helps cure this somewhat, as does setting yourself a specific long term goal to achieve. Remember, you don't have to run straight for an half an hour. You can break your running exercises up to 2×15 minute runs and focus on other activities in between.
If you've been running on the treadmill for some time and are bored of it but haven't yet made the transition to outdoors running, then just do it. It's not as scary as it seems and it's a lot less boring. Plus if you buy a GPS running watch you will get all of the stats that you usually get with a treadmill, but with all of the benefits of running in the great outdoors.
How To Get Through A Tough Run.
When the going gets tough, carrying on can seem an impossible challenge. Fortunately it isn't impossible. When adversity strikes on the run, it is best to slow down. Typically if you're burnt out all sorts of negative thoughts and emotions will be racing through your head. By lowering your pace, these thoughts will slow down.
I don't try to think positive thoughts. In fact I try to stop thinking altogether. Your mind can become your worst enemy if you keep thinking to yourself 'shit I've another 5 miles to go.' Stop all thought and instead focus on how your breathing or your heart. If your heart is beating too fast, slow down. There is no shame in having a rest or taking a break, as long as you continue.
The more I run the more I realize that I have 'gears'. When I started out I had 2 gears, slow and stop. Now I have slow, slower, slowerer, walk and stop. If things get too tough then I haven't a problem with putting myself at 'slowerer'.
The worst thing you can do is resent yourself for being too slow or fat on the run. You are how you are and you won't overcome you perceived lack of fitness by stopping running. Go easy on yourself and run happy.
How To Get The Motivation To Run On Holiday.
In the past I've set myself unrealistic weekly mileage goals whilst on holiday.
For instance on my last holiday I wanted to run at least 40 miles in a week, knowing full well that the temperature was gonna be no less than 25C for my stay there.
Holiday's are for relaxing. If you spend all of your time running and not enjoying yourself, then you'll associate it with feeling negative.
That does not mean that you should not run at all on holiday. Short runs in the morning are ideal for improving your mood and exploring the resort.
Celebrate the miles that you do run while abroad and don't feel down on yourself if you run a lot less than anticipated. If your run goes well, then you're much more likely to run again later in the vacation.
How To Motivate Yourself Into Running Whilst Depressed.
Depression can be crippling, making even getting out of bed seem like a serious challenge.
What keeps me running is knowing that after my run I'll feel much better than I did before jogging. I cannot remember a time where I felt low, ran and thought 'Shit I shouldn't have went out today, I feel much worse now.'
Jogging tends to put things into perspective. When feeling low, it is easy to let small nagging issues grow into major fucking hangups. Running gives me context. Half the time I get back home and I can't even remember what was annoying me when I started out.
It's definitely the best natural anti-depressant I've ever used.
Run Your Own Race For Your Own Reasons
It's easy to get overly competitive and to race to simply beat your friends.
Healthy competition is fine in small amounts but if you're out to just get one over on another person then when you eventually lose, all of your motivation will die.
It's important to know in yourself why you are running you race and to use that as your foundation for when the going gets tough.
As a long distance runner you'll know the effort it takes to get around a course and you should therefore respect everyone's journey.
Show goodwill to those that you run with and you'll run stronger
Finding The Motivation And Inspiration To Run In The Rain.
When running on a rainy day, remember this : you can only get so wet.
The hardest bit is getting out there for the first few minutes of rain. Once you're there it gets easier.
I've been guilty of trying to fight the weather when out running. I remember on one occasion I got caught up in a torrential downpour and I was shouting all sorts of abuse at God, weathermen and the clouds. My swearing fit hit a peak whilst rounding a corner. I distinctly recall shouting “aye ye f*cking c*nt!” at no-one in particular and an old lady appeared from nowhere.
She gave me the dirtiest look ever.
My point is that you can't change the weather by being angry. The weather is how it is and it's much better to run with the weather than against it. Putting yourself in resistance to what is will drive you mental.
How I Motivate Myself To Run When I Do Not Want To Run
I remind myself that if I run today, then this is the hardest jogging will ever be on my body.
If I continue to run steadily over a course of years, then I'l slowly but surely get better.
Running is an investment into your future. If you leave it or fall behind with your schedule, don't worry, just run. It doesn't have to be 20 miles or even particularly fast.
Making babysteps forward might not seem the quickest way to reach your goals but if you give it enough time then you'll get there in the end.
Why Running Outdoors Can Provide You With More Motivation To Continue Running Than A Treadmill.
When you start running outdoors, jogging becomes functional as well as a hobby.
Are you trying to cut back on spending in these hard economic times? Run to or from work!
It doesn't stop there.
Outdoor running has enhanced my holidays tenfold. I love getting up in the morning and exploring the city in my own way rather than using an expensive tour bus.
When I'm back home, I enjoy getting around town and exploring side-streets and country roads I've never down before. The fresh air and new experiences boost my mood. It's a completely different world from the sterile atmosphere of the gym and thetreadmill.
How To Get Back Into Running After A Long Break
Enter a race and run for charity with some friends. You'll strengthen bonds with existing comrades and get straight back into running
Buy a running gadget like a Garmin Forerunner or a FitBit Ultra and make yourself accountable to the public whilst having fun doing it.
I take both gadgets on every run with me and love obsessing over my stats on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
It's incredible fun trying to beat my personal records.
You might feel dissuaded or demoralised at first by how much your pace or stamina has dropped off since the last time you ran, but it'll only get worse the longer you sit on your ass all day.
Running Through Bereavement, My Single Best Run
My dad passed away on 5th March 2011 in the last weeks of my training for the Belfast Marathon 2011, after a year long battle with lung cancer.
On the day after I was feeling extraordinarily numb but I knew that I had to get on with shit as there was little use in collapsing mentally.
I had a long run planned for the next day and was just gonna let it slide. Fortunately I reconsidered and went out there and ran 14 miles, my longest distance to date at the time.
I didn't feel overjoyed with this at the time for obvious reasons, but looking back on it now I think it showed I had a hidden reserve of guile and tenacity.
If i had missed that run then I would have continued to perceive myself as weak.
One run can change anything, whether it's your 1st or your 1,000th. You won't know unless you get out there and do it.
If you have a bad run then the best plan is to get out as soon as possible afterwards and force yourself into running a good one. Bad runs can destroy your confidence and the longer you let them fester on in your mind, then the harder things will be going forward.
2 weeks to the day after his passing I finished the Larne Half Marathon 2011. At the time I was annoyed with myself for finishing in 2 hours 17 minutes as I was comparing myself to others and their times.
I'd essentially lost sight of who I was and why I was running in the first place. Ultimately, we have to run our own runs in the same way that we have to live our own lives.
If you lose sight of who you are, then you lose everything.
Motivation For Running By Myself
Some runners prefer to run with a partner, but I don't. I've been running on my own from the very start and I love my own company
If you rely on another person to train with, then you are tied to their schedule as well as yours. You won't get as running as often as you'd like.
Saying that, it can be difficult to muster the inspiration to run on your own. You alone are responsible for deciding when and where to run to. Don't feel like running today? Then you won't. With a running partner you'll be less likely to cancel a run in fear of letting your friend down.
Jogging outside is safer when you have someone with you on dark, wintery mornings. Muggers will think twice when they see more than one of you.
All in all though, I love the freedom of being able to run when I want, where I want and at the pace I want.
How To Keep Your Running Motivation Going Through The Cold Winter Months
Running can seem like a chore in the winter months. There seems like less opportunities to jog. Each time you go out you come back with a head-cold, hypothermia or frostbite.
I keep motivated by entering a spring Marathon.
I start off in the dead of winter when the sun isn't anywhere to be seen in the morning.
4 weeks into training and the sun will start rising slightly to the East and the sky will change from the darkest black to navy blue.
8 weeks in and Spring will dawn.
Just watching it getting brighter each day in the morning is inspiring.
I keep thinking about the positives. Marathon training will ensure I'm at peak fitness and I'll be in shape for a summer holiday. I won't have to start a crash diet in the spring like everyone else.
By running in the bleakest of months, you're setting yourself up to enjoy the sunniest of days.