Or, how to stay motivated when you don’t like running.
As part of my 2017 fundraising for Cats Protection I have signed up for a number of running events (see my challenge page for the full list). I am not a runner – in fact sometimes the idea of putting on my trainers and jogging around the streets fills me with dread. It wouldn’t be a real challenge if I enjoyed it though so I have been getting out there and training three times a week whatever the weather.
An a non-runner I wanted to share some of the things that have kept me motivated through my training.
1) Make it a game
When I started out I looked out for something that would make my run training a bit more interesting. What I found was an app called Zombies, Run! (zombiesrungame.com). Zombies, Run! is a game where you run through a series of episodes. The content is entertaining and turns each run into an immersive story, whilst you automatically collect supplies for your base. There is also the option to turn on zombie chases where you need to increase your pace in order to escape a zombie horde. I don’t know about you, but nothing motivates me to run as fast as the sound of hungry zombies.
If this sounds a bit too much then there are other ways to make a game of running. Making it competitive can also make things interesting, even if the person you’re competing against is yourself. I do this by comparing my results on the same route but those of you with an android device could try Ghostracer and race against a virtual partner.
2) Have a plan
Having a plan is really important. Not only does it give you something to aim for week on week, if you pick your plan well it will stop you from doing too much too soon and risking injury. There are lots of plans out there and they’re tailored to all different abilities. It’s likely that any event you sign up to will have training advice, including plans to help you. I am using a BUPA plan as they have a 10 mile plan, which suits one of the events I’m doing.
To motivate myself I put the training time from the plan as calendar entries and tick them off as I go. If you can run a little further or faster than the previous week, or even maintain performance then that’s an achievement to be happy about.
3) Run with your friends
I was dubious of running with others at first. I am slow and as previously mentioned “not a runner” so I was worried about holding people back or even embarrassing myself with my plodding pace. What I’ve found though is that running with others is a great distraction and motivator to get better. What’s more, one of the best ways to check that you are running at a comfortable pace is to be able to speak and it’s better to do that in company than to run round talking to yourself. A further benefit is that if you’ve set a time to go running with someone then it isn’t as easy to back out of it than it is if it is an appointment with yourself.
4) Check out the results
If you follow a plan and train regularly you will quickly see an improvement in your running. To see the benefit of this over time track your progress so that you can really see that you’re running further and faster. I use Strava (www.strava.com) to track my runs but there are lots of options out there.
If that isn’t enough then running is a good way to achieve a number of health benefits. Like all cardio, regular running will improve your general fitness levels and can contribute to maintaining a healthy weight.
5) Do it for a reason
It’s easier to stay motivated to train if there is a reason that you’re training. Signing up to the running events has kept me motivated and given me a target. Knowing that I’m doing it for a cause I believe in helps keep me going – giving in is not an option because I’m doing it for the cats!
So far I’ve signed up to the following running events and am considering doing more:
- 10th March Meadows Marathon – 10K race
- 23rd April Great Edinburgh Run – 10 miles
- 4th June Great Glasgow Women’s 10K