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How to love running (by someone who hated it)

fitness health mindset Aug 25, 2020

You may have noticed that since lockdown, there has been an 8,794% increase in the number of runners on the streets (not a real statistic, but you know what I mean), and I'll be honest, I wasn't remotely interested in joining them!

I've never been a runner. I've always loved the idea of running but the reality was more of a puffing, sweaty plod than a run, so I just couldn't get into it. This is, until recently. On the news about 2 months into lockdown, there were a load of people being interviewed about their success on the Couch To 5k app. These weren't people that looked like typical runners - they were middle aged, some overweight - but all of them could now run 5km, and all of them now loved running.

This got me thinking.... if they can, maybe I can? 

To make sure I didn't go off the idea, the running shoes were ordered there and then! And the next day, I was lacing them up and ready for my first go! Day one only called for 60 seconds of running at a time. And there's no rules on speed, a steady plod is just fine. I'll be honest, even that first 60 seconds was tough. 

Actually, I've found every run so far equally as tough, only that today my tough run was for 20 minutes rather than 1. I'm honestly amazed at how I've managed to adapt and progress and I wouldn't have thought this possible at the start. What I'm most amazed about is that I've actually begun to find myself enjoying it, against all odds- and what I'd like to share with you is what you can do to enjoy it too.

Get into a rhythm

I like to do my runs at 6am, in the morning sunshine on the beach and I've really noticed the difference in the way I feel on run-days! I feel invigorated, wide awake and so productive. I really think that ticking something off your list so early in the day has a massive effect on the way the rest of the day unfolds. 

Research shows that early morning exercise releases both endorphins (the happy hormone) and a chemical called 'neurotrophic factor' which helps with focus and concentration. All good things to start your day with, and probably the reason why many high performing people swear by getting a sweat on first thing in the day.

I run on alternate days, and I really notice on my rest days that I don't feel as clear- almost as if I've forgotten to do something. On rest days I also waste much more time in the morning - I take longer getting ready and faff around with all kinds of things before I get to work. On run days, I'm usually showered and ready to go by 7.30am.

Run somewhere beautiful

I'm also very lucky to live on the beach, and I really find the fresh sea air and view of the sun rising on the horizon to be calming and helps me to focus on the things that I'm grateful for, first thing in the morning. There are loads of points along my route that I enjoy; the boats in the harbour, the way the morning sunshine sparkles on the sea, the spots where the birds nest in the trees and fly around when I go past. Having something to look forward to in your route really helps, as does running in a loop rather than an outwards and back. There's more to see and is much more interesting!

Celebrate your wins

As you progress with your running- tell people! Speak excitedly and passionately about what you're doing and how much you're achieving. Speaking positively about your running and sharing with friends is important for two reasons. Firstly, the human brain loves a story. You'll be rewarded with a dopamine hit which will neurologically strengthen the link between running and pleasure. 

Secondly, by sharing your successes, you're encouraging other people do share theirs, or to join you with yours! Not only are you going to be feeling so much better for taking on this challenge, but your friends and co-workers could be too. Before you know it, you'll have inadvertently created a group of people who are also pushing themselves to be the best they can be. 

 

So go on, give it a go! What's stopping you?

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