I will never forget my first attempt at a 5 kilometer run because it was the longest thirty five minutes of my life. Every kilometer felt further than the previous one but when I had finally finished running, I felt a sense of satisfaction and I have been addicted to this feeling ever since. Fast forward a few years and I have gone from running 5kms in 35 minutes to just under 21 minutes. How did I do it? I didn’t give up and I found a few tips and tricks a long the way, to help me to achieve my running goals.
1) Dream big, but start small. You may have high hopes of becoming a great runner but you need to accept that your first few runs are going to be more like Paula Radcliffe in the 2005 London Marathon, than Usain Bolt in the 2008 Olympics. You know which run i’m talking about! Start off with running a few kilometers a week and gradually work towards increasing your speed. When you are comfortable with the distance and happy with your speed, try to run a little bit further and continue to do this until you reach the 5km mark. When you reach the 5km mark, this is when the fun begins because it’s all about improving your time. Incorporate hill sprints and interval training in to your weekly workout routine; as this will help to increase your power, speed and endurance.
2) Be resilient Sometimes I go for a run and my legs just aren’t interested in doing what my brain is trying to tell them to do. Not every day is going to be a good running day but instead of hanging up your trainers and accepting defeat, find your inner Usain Bolt and try again another day. Try to make sure that you get a good nights sleep before you go for a run and I advise against running with a hangover. I have done many runs with a hangover and believe me, it’s not worth it.
3) Run with a purpose Every time you set out for a run or get on a treadmill you need to feel confident and determined to see it out to the end, no matter how hard it may become. Get rid of that “let’s just see how this run goes” mentality, because it is time to take control. Set a goal before each run and tell yourself that unless your legs fall off mid run, you are going to achieve your goal. The mind can take the body to places that it didn’t think it could go, so psych yourself up and run with conviction in your strides. This is your race, own it!
4) Music is king. The power of music shouldn’t be underestimated when it comes to running. I find that music helps me to get in the zone and gives me the strength to power through the final kilometer. Create a solid playlist that includes lots of up beat tracks and ‘power songs’ to help you to dig deep and carry on running. Sometimes ITunes can give your playlist a really bad shuffle so keep your playlist small, to prevent you from faffing around with your phone during a run. If it helps, put one song on repeat. I usually have Kanye West’s Monster on repeat because it’s hard to have a bad run when this song is on.
5) Enjoy it. Stop thinking about how far you are from achieving your running goals and start thinking about how much closer you are to achieving them, after each run. Running is meant to be fun so enjoy it! Remember to take your time, celebrate even the smallest achievements and I hope that in time you will achieve all of your running goals.