My hibernation (longer than the average bear, yes) is over, spring time is here, which means I'm finally back to running again! Since it's been a while and I always play it safe by starting at beginner level, I thought I'd share some of my favourite tips with you. The first one? Make sure you love running. If you don't, there's no way you'll keep it up and that's OK. There's another perfect workout out there for you. If you do? Well then, read the tips below and get going!
l e t g o o f t h a t f e a r
of what others might think of you. I am not the most confident of people, and whenever I'm getting ready to go out for a run, I still struggle with a lot of thoughts concerning what other people might think when they encounter this not that skinny and muscly girl running or - worse - walking those first minutes. But then I realise a couple of things. The first is that they probably don't even stop to think twice about how slow you're going, how your bits and bobs are bouncing along OR how red your face looks. If anything, if they're anything like me whenever I encounter someone working out that is, they're probably thinking 'way to go, runner!'. Or at least they should, you know? And if they don't and actually are the rude kind of people, so what? At least you're going out and working on that body and stamina of yours, aren't you?
f i n d y o u r p e r f e c t r o u t i n e
As mentioned above: I'm not the kind of runner that can start running the minute she gets out of the door, and if you're a beginner, you probably aren't as well. I need at least a couple of minutes to warm up and stretch my legs before I speed it up, so that's why I always fast-walk the first song on my running playlist. In that way, the rest of my run goes almost effortlessly without any stops and my muscles don't object as much. But don't take my word for it! It's super important to find your own perfect routine. Perhaps you'll need a couple of stops when you start (interval is actually pretty great, people), or a longer warm-up, a quicker pace, a slower pace, ... the list goes on. That's why I'm such a fan of running alone instead of with friends, although you could definitely enjoy the company as long as their paces don't throw you off yours. And no talking... Gosh, no talking. Haha!
m a k e y o u r o w n p l a y l i s t
You know best which music motivates you to keep going. Sure, there are a lot of great running playlists out there, but I found that it was never really a 100% to my liking and a 'bad' song could really throw me off my groove. Besides, taking the time to make your own playlist is not only fun, it'll also help keep you going when you're having a hard time and suddenly a personal favourite or nostalgic gem bursts through your headphones. It'll have you smiling all through the trial, I promise! As for me, I tend to fill mine with a lot of uptempo favourites (The Vaccines always keep me going!), epic instrumentals and film soundtracks (it's like you're training to be Batman, really) and nostalgic boosts (Sum 41 made my red cheeks turn into a wide grin yesterday).
u s e t h e a p p t h a t b e s t f i t s y o u
From Runkeeper to Nike+, there are so many great apps out there to keep track of your progress. I, on the other hand, swear by something more - well, let's call it - special, and that's the Zombies, Run! app. I've been running with it for about three years now and I just can't get enough. I would totally recommend it if you're someone with an extensive fantasy, or who's a fan of adventure stories or films in general, really. You are part of a running team in the middle of the Zombie Apocalypse, going out for supply runs or uncovering mysteries while out for a run. You're accompanied by a supervisor through the radio (his name is Sam, he's kinda funny) but in between his motivation and the story line, you listen to your own choice of playlist. Must-try!
h a n g o n
If there's anything I've learned from running, it's that it gets easier the longer you're running. The first couple of strides of every single run are always the hardest, but struggle through and you'll find yourself running at a steady pace like it's nothing. The way you do it is also very important. There's nothing wrong with a slow tempo if it'll keep you going longer, but you do have to pick up your feet instead of dragging them across the turf. Run with purpose, and you'll soon realise it's just one foot in front of the other in the end!
e n j o y t h e a f t e r - r u s h & s t r e t c h !
Stretch extensively. Honestly, when you think you've stretched enough, add another couple of exercises. I stretch for 15 minutes at least, before and after every run. No sore muscles, whatsoever. I also have a little routine after I come home... I'm usually so pumped up and boiling over with energy that I throw in a little victory dance. Mind you, this is just because I live alone now, and I can truly dance like there's nobody watching, it's awesome. It's an extra workout and the perfect 'cool down' right before I start stretching. And fun, so much fun. Try it, or find your own little after-run routine! ;)
Q: do you go running often or planning to start? What are your little routines and what keeps you going?