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Run Off The Winter Blues Part 3

Rob Hanley of our clinic in Dooradoyle in Limerick, takes us into part 3 of our Winter Running blog. Today Rob discusses how to get the motivation to jump up off the couch and get running outside.

“Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day. It asks you, ‘Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?’” Peter Maher, Canadian marathon runner.

When you strip it down to it’s basics, all you need to run are running shoes and willpower. We all know it, Irish winters are cold, they’re wet and they’re dark. After a long day at work the last thing you want to do is go out into it. Go though, and there is nothing quite like sitting down by the warm fire later on after a good run. It’s the getting off the couch that is the hard part. 

Set Achievable Goals

Goal setting is key as once we have a specific objective in mind, it’s much easier to train. Pick a specific run you want to do and fix a date for it. Put yourself under a little pressure- tell people about it, now your locked in. Post your training schedule at home and work, so you have constant reminders about your goals. Celebrate your accomplishments, too. Display medals or photos from your races so your achievements keep you motivated.

A good thing to do is to pick one race that you run every year. You’ll look forward to training for and running in the race, and you’ll stay motivated to keep your “streak” alive. Try to get some friends or family members to do the race with you, so you can all make it an annual event.

Be Prepared

Keep a bag packed with running clothes and shoes in your car or in work. You’ll be prepared to take advantage of any unexpected opportunity to run. Keeping your gear ready for use by the front door can also help to create a habit. Use the same process every time so you don’t end up wasting time looking around for your gear.

  1. Stand up from couch
  2. Go to running gear at door and put on
  3. Grab keys and go.

You have now gone from sitting to outside running in a minute. If you are tight on time even if you can only run for 20 minutes, some running is better than no running, and it will help you maintain your running habit.

Think of the Health Benefits 

One of your goals with jogging may be to improve the way you look and feel. So make sure you periodically remind yourself of the health improvements you’re making. Get your blood pressure tested, or step on the scale and check your weight. Think about how much more energy you have, and how you now have a healthy way to relieve stress.

Run in the Morning

Whenever I run in the morning, I always feel like I gained a couple of hours during the day. If I leave it until the evening, I often feel pressure run and fit everything in but if I’ve already done my bit that day I’m happy.

Get a Running Partner

It’s much easier to run with somebody. You’ll be more likely to go if you know the other person is expecting you and it’s much easier to push yourself with someone else there. Try to convince a friend or family member to come along with you, even if it’s just once a week. Even if they’re slower than you, you’ll find that helping someone else will help get you excited about running again.

Time Yourself

This works really well for me. It helps me try harder during my run and times that gradually get faster are great feedback to show that your effort is paying off. Begin timing your run as soon as you start. At your turnaround point, hit the split button on your watch, or just take note of your time. Try increasing your pace on the way back, with the goal of beating your time for the first half. There are numerous smartphone applications available these days which can log your time, distance covered, calories burned and track your progress. This might help to add some motivation when you can clearly see the proof of effort being put in.

Run your Errands

You can literally “run” some of the jobs you need to get done. Next time you have to pick up milk or mail a letter, run to the nearest grocery store, post office, or mailbox instead of driving there. (You can walk home if you have stuff to carry, of course). If you’re lucking enough to live within walking distance of work try running home, taking a long way if needs be. Take thedog for a run instead of walk. 

Part 4 of this blog will follow soon, so keep your eyes peeled! In the meantime if you are thinking of taking up a running programme you might want to discuss this, with one of our Chartered Physiotherapists. You can book an appointment with us by clicking here.