Monday, 5 March 2012

Running

I know we're now half-way through March, but one of my New Year's Resolutions back in January was to run 500 miles this year. I had meant to talk about this sooner but, being me, never quite got round to it.
Up until about a year ago, I wouldn't even run for a bus. I hated running and genuinely didn't see the point. It's not that I'm lazy (okay, it's partially that), I've always enjoyed swimming, cycling, and plenty of other types of exercise, but running never did it for me. While I've been at uni though, I don't have a bike and can't afford to go swimming, and I'd definitely noticed when I go home that my fitness has dropped. Short of buying a bike, the best way I could come up with to try and get some fitness back was to take up running. At first my family and friends laughed in disbelief and were doubtful how long it would last, but I surprised even myself by sticking with it.
It was hard to start with and the first time I ran a whole mile without stopping, I was ridiculously proud. Gradually, though, it's got easier, and last week I ran 4.5 miles, all in one go! [proud moment] I've actually got to the point where I enjoy running now, and look forward to going for a run when I get home in an evening. I try to get out four or five times a week, and I enjoy seeing how I'm improving. I've even got a little Excel Spreadsheet going on tracking my mileage - I've got a graph and everything! Okay, I'm easily pleased. My mum says I'm turning into my brother - he has a bit of a Spreadsheet thing too..

Yes, I really am that sad..
But anyway, the point is, running is an easy and cheap way to keep fit, pretty much anyone can do it, and so I wanted to share a few tips with you all. I'm by no means an expert of any kind but, having started from nothing, I wanted to tell you what worked for me.
  • Invest in some decent running shoes - if you can, get professionally fitted. Running shops often offer this service for free if you buy your shoes from them and it really is worth it. Previously I was running in some old trainers that I've had years, but my mum got me some lovely shiny purple running shoes for my birthday last year and the difference I've noticed is amazing. It's much more comfortable on my knees and ankles, my feet feel supported, and I get less aches in my calves the next day. Honestly, it's worth the investment!
  • Similarly, get a good sports bra. I've not got massive boobs but on the occasions I've ran in a regular bra, I can definitely tell the difference, so it's really worth it to avoid going saggy prematurely! I have two bras on rotation, this one from M&S, one in black and one in white.
Lifted from the M&S website!
  • You can download free apps for your smartphone which will use GPS to track where you've been. I used Endomondo, which uploads your runs onto their website so you can see graphs of your pace and compare workouts. You can also add friends to see what they're up to, but I don't use that feature because none of my friends are on it! I do, however, use the 'Audio Coach' feature, which tells me every time I do another mile, and my lap time. You can also set a target in terms of distance or time, or (if you have them) try to beat your friends' times.
  • Try running at different times of day and see when is best for you. I prefer running of an evening, after uni. I find it a great way to unwind after the day, but obviously this isn't always practical - sometimes it's too dark by the time I get home, sometimes I'm going out, whatever. So I mix it up and run mornings as well sometimes. If I've got a day off I sometimes go out mid-afternoon. It keeps things interesting!
  • Work out a couple of routes that are easy for you. I'm lucky in that I live right on the edge of two parks which are great to run in. So I have a 5km route which is two laps of one park, a 3-mile route which is one lap of the other, a 5-mile loop which involves both.. This gives you plenty of options depending on how you're feeling and how long you've got. If you're more limited and just have, say, a 1.5mile loop, then you can always do it multiple times. If you have to run for two minutes then walk for three, do. You'll build your fitness up eventually! If you're starting from low fitness, something like the Couch to 5k Program might help you.


  • Do be careful where you're running - don't run in poorly lit areas in the dark, etc. Use your common sense ladies! But don't be scared of mud.. It washes off!
  • Some people like to listen to music whilst running, which can help you pace yourself and if you make a playlist which is, for example, 30 minutes long, then you can run until the end of the playlist and there you go, you've run for half an hour! Personally I like to be able to hear what's going on around me whilst running, and don't seem to have much problem pacing  myself, so I don't tend to bother. I can imagine that if you're running a long distance, say a half-marathon, it might help stop you getting bored. On the occasions when I use the treadmill at the gym, music is definitely necessary or I'm bored stupid within ten minutes.
  • Check out the Parkrun website - they organise free Saturday morning runs in parks all over Britain, so find your local one and go along! You need to register before the event if you want your time to register in the results afterwards, but it's easy and you can register up until 6pm the night before.
  • While you're out running, be considerate of other people, and be aware of dogs, small children, people on bikes, faster people running up behind you, and so on. It's nice to be friendly and say hi to people (if you have enough breath!) and there's a few people that I regularly see out. Smile even if it hurts - at least look like you're enjoying it! Plus, the endorphins smiling releases tricks your brain into thinking you're enjoying it. Win.
  • Finally, don't worry about what you look like. Yes, people occasionally shout things at you (I've had this both ways - some people shout things like, "Go on, gorgeous, get them sexy legs going!", which is nice, and some people shout, "Run, fatty!", which is less nice. I've had both and frankly I just laugh because a) I do NOT look gorgeous at the best of times, never mind when I'm bright red and all sweaty, and b) I don't think size 8-10 qualifies fat, and the gentleman in question certainly wasn't one to talk. Even if I was a larger lady, at least I'm looking after my body and keeping fit, which is more than can be said for them, so fuck them!

I hope some of you find these tips helpful, let me know if you give any of them a go!

xo

2 comments:

  1. I've been thinking about starting running for awhile now. I used to years ago with my friend but she moved and I never got back into it, but I think I've put it off long enough! So thanks for the running inspiration post! :)

    Lisamello xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh gosh Jess I am jealous! 1) I look like tool when I run. 2) I can't run not even on a tread mill as I have a dodgy hip!
    I would love to run cos it is free and I currently pay for the gym (even though you wouldn't think so by my figure!).
    I think I am going to buy a stepper because that is pretty much all I do at the gym and weights so I could do that at home right?

    Hummm. I think I should just putting food in my mouth, would probably be easier!

    I recommend the Shock Absorber sports bras. They hold you in super well!

    xx

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...