Fewer excuses – the more likely you are to do it. That is so true for running. We also fall into the trap of procrastinating or not going out at all for the run or not completing the session that we’d envisage.
Here are our top tips that will help you to get out!
So you want to work backward from your run time and think about making sure you’ve got enough time to digest your food. You don’t want to be so full that you get a stitch, but we don’t know what’s worse, being so hungry that you actually feel sick. Make sure you consider that beforehand.
Dehydration is another issue you want to make sure you avoid because that can dramatically reduce your performance. So, try to sit water little and often and a few hours leading up to your run because you don’t want to just be gulping down a huge amount before you go, and it’s just going to be glugging around in your stomach.
If you’re doing a longer run, then make sure you’ve got the relevant fuel and hydration with you. Even if you don’t think you’ll need any, it’s often a good idea to have an emergency gel stashed in your pocket just in case you feel you really need it or you decide to push your run a little bit further.
Some people don’t like carrying things on them when they’re running and if that’s you, then just plan around it. So, maybe devise a loop where you can hide some water and some fuel in a hedge or do some reps that go past your house. Alternatively, you can plan a route that goes past a grocery store so you can pop in buy some water and whatever you need.
When it comes to after the run, your fueling then is obviously not going to affect your performance of the run you’ve just done. However, it is key for your future performances and enabling you to recover fully.
Make sure you’ve got something healthy already at home that’s prepped that’s going to save you from the kind of being distracted by the less healthy and less productive recovery options.
The weather can have a dramatic effect on your running performance if you’re not prepared adequately, so make sure you check the forecast, and if need be, you even step outside the door so you can really gauge what the weather’s doing.
Now, some go by the motto be bold, start cold. If you’re someone who warms up quite well, then have a strategy: if you’re doing a long sleeve top that you can take off, tie it around your waist.
Hats and gloves are a great way of keeping the extremities warm, but if you do get too hot, they’re quite small, so you can stick them in your pocket. Or do your warm-up loop, so you go past the house, and you can drop it off and then carry on with the rest of your session.
Talking of doing a warm-up loop past your house, if you’re someone who maybe needs a bathroom stop after your warm-up, that’s another good strategy to have.
Ever get out for a run onto the trails or the road, do your warm-up, and then for life, you can’t remember your main session? Well, that can be a thing of the past thanks to technology, as many devices now can actually have a session uploaded.
In the case of the rival, you can actually do this seven days in advance, so at the start of the week, why not get all your sessions to sync to your watch, and then you have no excuses. This will also give you feedback as you go letting you know if you’re on pace or at the right effort level.
You’ll also be able to glance and see how far you’ve got left. It’s pretty motivating. Or you can keep it really simple and go old school and write your session on your hand.
Adapt your run
We can’t always have the perfect terrain or the perfect time of day available for our run, so you need to be flexible and have a plan B.
Why not even make plan B the better option? For example, say you were planning on your long run, but you’ve run out of time, you’ve only got a short window. Well, why not make that into some short effort, so you work really hard, get a lot out of it, and just do your long steady run at another time in the week.
Maybe you’re someone who struggles for motivation, and you procrastinate a little bit. Why not incorporate your run into your commute to work, whether you can run to work or from work. Or if you drive, take your running kit with you, and then on the way home, pick a nice spot to stop off at go and do your run before you get the temptation of getting home and sitting on that sofa.
Sometimes the terrain just doesn’t suit your plan session. If you usually run using pace as guidance, but you’re on an undulating route, how about shopping to using heart rate as your guide for your efforts instead. Or, if you’re doing short reps, then go with perceived exertion.
On the topic of efforts, why not use hills as your easy option now? We don’t mean physically easy – we mean mental easy because sometimes, if you’re not in the mood for having to push yourself and keep a set pace on the flat, go and do some hills, and you cannot cheat.
Because running up the hill is going to be hard whatever, and you’ll get your heart rate up, you’ll get that same intensity, and you just won’t have to think about it.
To finish up, we’ve got a few little tips and tricks to help if you struggle with motivation. On days that you’re really struggling, try to reduce the tasks and just pick one and go and get that accomplished, and you’ll often find that by just doing that one task, you’ll already feel more motivated, and you’re quite likely to then go and accomplish more.
Let us give you an example – say you’re really struggling to get out the door and go for your run. Well, how about just putting on your run kit and telling yourself you’re going to go for a 10-minute walk. Now, most of us can usually get the motivation to do that, and you might find that just that 10-minute walk completely changes your mindset and makes you feel that much better, and then you might have the option of going – well, I’m now going to go for a run, I’m in my kit already I’m feeling better, and you never know sometimes the best sessions come from that.
It’s about being kind to yourself and just reassessing those goals and accomplishing one than the other. Just remember to be kind to yourself and congratulate yourself for any achievement that you do get. Then if time is an issue again, remember the motto something is better than nothing. If you can’t get a long run in, don’t stress about it. How about doing a double run day with two shorter runs on either side of work, for example, or look for quality in your runs like we mentioned earlier.