You spontaneously think of those trendy running shoes you recently saw on a webshop or on display in a store. Fantastic! If you have it top of mind you have figuratively taken the first step. However, there is often a seemingly immense gap between the intention to run and actually doing it.
That gap? Lack of time. “Are you going to run? Yes please, but unfortunately I don’t have time for that.” We can tell you this commonly used excuse is incorrect. No matter how busy your schedule may seem, with some (creative) puzzling you are guaranteed to find some time. There are always 101 things that seem more important at the time. They’re not.
Now that we’ve got rid of the main obstacle, there are other pitfalls that create a love-hate relationship between you and your running shoes. We go over them and debunk the most important ones.
I want to run, but I also want to …
Don’t set too many goals at once. Chances are you won’t be able to fulfil any of them. One at a time. You cannot quit smoking, work 10 hours a day in search of that promotion and at the same time aspire to run a marathon. Is starting to run your main goal? Only focus on that, preferably for a full year.
I’m going to run a half marathon right away
Exercise more? That sounds vague. There is a good chance you will have big ambitions. Rather, set a concrete and realistic goal. With achievable interim goals you keep yourself motivated. You are free to dream big, but don’t think that after two weeks of running you will be ready to run a half marathon. For example, a good starting goal would be to take 10,000 steps a day or plan a 5 km running session. Also take plenty of rest. On rest days your body can recover from the efforts made. You recover from the accumulated fatigue and see your fitness increasing. Rest days are a necessity, even for top athletes, so that supercompensation does not suddenly turn into straining.
I skipped a session, so …
Everything has gone to ruin? No. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Your brain is unconsciously yearning for positive confirmation and stimuli. Did you make it to 10,000 steps? Be happy and dare to reward yourself. Plan a wellness trip with your best friend. Or for the men: treat yourself to an exciting football match with your mates. Did you fail to achieve your goal for a day? Look at the positives: you have six other weekdays to do it. We recommend using a running schedule, such as this one from the running app Start 2 Run. These can also be adjusted to your level. Besides, a schedule fits into your calendar. Moreover, you create regularity and it allows you to build up gradually.
Starting and maintaining
With the most important obstacles out of the way, you are now fully in training mode. You will notice that it can go quick at the beginning. The first weeks you will lose the most weight and your condition will improve the fastest. Suddenly you will notice that you are making less progress. Frustration and demotivation are just around the corner. To avoid this scenario, we give you some tips. Remember: fun makes fit.
- 1. Partners in crime
Find partners with whom you can achieve a common goal. If you can do something together, it is more fun, and you are more motivated. Don’t see it as doing sports, but as a social occasion: quality time to connect. If you start running with others, you are also less inclined to cancel last minute. It creates accountability. By the way, did you know that when you train together your performance not only improves, but you train longer on average.
- 2. Let there be music
Is running more of a me-time thing for you? Your zen moment in a sporty cocoon? Then music works wonders. Music can help you find the right pace, your running rhythm. Attention: do not let the music take over the lead, don’t try to run on the beat at all costs. Music helps you get over the difficult moments. You feel less of the efforts you make. Music can also improve your running performance by up to 15%. Sports specialists call music “a legal performance enhancing drug” for good reason.
- 3. Write down your progress
We have already mentioned it. The first steps you take are the biggest. Visualising your progress can help when things aren’t going that fast anymore. Look back with pride at what you have already achieved. It gives you a boost and the required energy to maintain your upward curve (even if it goes up less steep). Do you still want that feeling that you keep making rapid progress? Then supplement running with strength training: this strengthens your back and core. With a stronger core you absorb the shocks better, which helps prevent injuries.
Check, check and check. With these tips & tricks you are ready to get fitter than ever before. In addition to a better physique, you can count on numerous other benefits. Running helps to prevent cardiovascular disease, it is good for your immune system and you get a better constitution: in sports where there is a continuous impact, you grow stronger bones. For example, runners have higher bone density values than cyclists, because they don’t make contact with the ground.
Low stress, runner’s high
Don’t forget about the mental ‘fitness’. Your self-confidence increases and your stress level decreases, all because of that runner’s high. Do you have trouble sleeping in the evening? That will also be a lot easier. In short, you’re running towards a “no worries, no thinking zone”. So, how about that run?