A few months ago I wrote about how I am not a runner. But I decided to start jogging a little anyway since my bike was no longer a good option for exercise after we moved. I have discovered that being a runner is all about how you think of yourself. Here are the tips I've picked up so far about becoming a regular exerciser.
1. Keep a record. Get a small diary and keep an exercise journal. I just record how long I was out running, where I went, and how I felt. Today's run: "The usual 4.8 km loop, walking four times (1 min each), extra runs up the hill and walked down to recover (1 lamp post, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, and 1). Really tired afterwards but happy." You can do this online, too. Or I'm sure there's an app for that.
This is a photo of me, happy and sweaty, after my run this morning.
2. Get inspired online. One of the food blogs I read is also occasionally about running. I feel more motivated to run after I read it. This is the entry I read yesterday about marathon running. (I don't want to run a marathon, don't get excited!) And last week I found a blog called Healthy Motivation that posts a handful of pictures every day. The photos of fit women who are obviously very committed to training makes me want to shape up, too.
3. Talk about what you've been doing. I don't know if my friends find this annoying... if so, I hope they would say. But when I miss a phone call in the morning I am eager to say, "Sorry I missed you, I was out running." I think that the more I tell people the more they will ask me about it. And then if I stop mentioning it after a while, they will catch me out. It's like a mini version of accountability that I'm encouraging. Also, I want to change and develop the picture of myself in my own mind. I want exercising to be a part of who I am. So it's not really my friends I want to convince, but myself. Then if I feel tempted to stop exercising, I say to myself, "But I'm a runner--this is what I do." It's hard to argue with that kind of logic!
4. Trick yourself into going out to exercise. I often give myself a way out if I don't feel like exercising. "I'll just go out for 10 minutes. Then I can stop if I feel bad." Usually after 10 minutes of getting started I realise that I am fine to carry on. Or I say, "I'll run up the hill and then walk down. That will be enough." On some days I take the easy way out and end up with a very short workout. At least it was better than nothing and it keeps the habit going. But most of the time I actually end up enjoying my run.
5. Put out your workout clothes the night before. When I wake up and see them sitting there, it's like my shorts, shirt and trainers have been waiting for me. My gear wants to go out running! And as soon as the shorts are on, it seems like a shame not to go out for a run. So I try to go directly from my pyjamas to my running clothes, and as quickly as possible, while I am still bleary-eyed. It really reduces the excuses I can use. Another trick is to put my contact lenses ready by the sink. Then when I get up and go to the bathroom, after I wash my hands I put my contacts straight in. Then it seems inevitable that I will go out for a run.
Since I began running in October it seems that I have become a runner! What tips do you have to share?