Top 10 motivational running tips - by runners for runners
Whether you've been running for decades or are only able to run for five minutes, you're always going to be grateful for a motivational tip or two. Running is difficult. If it was a piece of cake everyone would be at it. There will be days or weeks where you'd rather pull out your finger nails than go running, so read on for our top 10 running tips. Hopefully they'll get you out of bed on a chilly morning.
- Keep a running diary. This applies to beginners and veterans alike. Every time you get in from a run make a note of how far you ran, how you feel, any new aches and pains, notable improvements and whether you felt like you could have gone further. A diary is a valuable tool when you're having a bad running day. If your mojo is flagging, flick back over the pages and remind yourself how great you feel when you've completed your training.
- Always have a goal in mind. This can be anything from 'run round the block or park without stopping within a month' to 'lose 6lbs'. You can guarantee that having an aim in mind will help motivate you to run. It's a great boost to self esteem to know that you won't let yourself down.
- Sign up for a race once you feel able. This will motivate you in several ways. Firstly, on a personal level you will be working to a particular point in time and will be focused. Secondly, you won't want to let anyone down, be it your friends and family who support your training or the charity you may have agreed to raise funds for.
- Don't forget you will probably reach a plateau. This could happen at any time, when you're least expecting it. It's perfectly normal to suddenly stop losing weight and could mean you need to rest, mix up your training (see number 8) or re-evaluate your diet.
- As you lose weight it will become easier to run. Every pound you lose will make you lighter on your feet. When you first start pounding the streets and paths you might feel as if your weight is literally pulling you closer to the ground, particularly after having a baby! This heavy feeling will lessen week by week as the pounds melt away!
- Forgive yourself if you miss a training session or don't meet a goal. You're only human and are bound to slip up from time to time. Sometimes to urge to skip your run is much stronger than the urge to actually pull on your trainers, or perhaps you'd rather head to the pub when you have a rare moment evening away from your children! Get back on track the next day and don't see yourself as a failure, you're anything but.
- Run on trails and see the sights. Although the most convenient runs are those that start outside your front door, mixing things up with a run through the countryside is a sure fire way to raise the motivation stakes. Plan a run that takes you along a country path you've never been along before, or run where you take the dog for a walk. Not only will you reduce the impact on your joints, strengthen your core and improve your balance, you'll also see the beautiful countryside whizz past. Cows, horse riders and stunning views will all lift your mood.
- Mix up your routine. To prevent boredom and to motivate you to head out the door in the first place create a weekly exercise schedule that includes a long run, a fast run, a fun run with a friend, strength training and another form of exercise such as swimming to work other muscles and give your joints a break.
- Keep the long term in sight when it comes to weight loss. Losing baby weight or any extra pounds you may have acquired takes time and effort and a running programme won't take immediate effect. It does take a while to start shifting weight, but a slow and steady approach is best for long term weight loss and health. If you stick to your running plan you'll notice the pounds melt away eventually. Give it a month and your jeans will be looser!
- Get a running buddy. Some people prefer to run alone however there's nothing more motivating than your running partner knocking on the door full of enthusiasm for your daily jog. You can combine your training with a spot of gossip, comparing baby notes or just enjoy the silent company of someone who shares your health goals.