If you are anything like me, then you probably aren’t a very naturally athletic person. You exercise about 1½ times every 6 months (when the guilt of not working out finally kicks in) and still you hate every second of it.
Now I have never ever been the sporty kind. I was always terrible at PE in school and it was always my lowest average. I didn’t have any health problems or anything, I just really wasn’t very fit. The worst thing of all was running. It was the worst torture imaginable for me and I hated it with a PASSION. At least that’s what I thought.
I might not be a sporty person but I do try. In a moment of motivation I once vowed to do 10 minutes of cardio every evening. That lasted about a month (which was a record at the time). I cannot count how many times I took up running and stopped after 2 runs. Then one day not too long ago, I had a long old think about it and I decided that I had to do my body a favour and find a way of working out regularly that I actually stuck to, because the way I see it you may or may not like exercising, but the fact is that your body actually needs it from time to time and you just can’t get away with never ever doing it. And when I say that I’m not talking about weight loss or anything like that, I literally mean that your body NEEDS to exercice in order to maintain health in the long run (pun intended).
So this summer I thought I would try taking up running again, because it’s the most accessible and cheapest option. At first I ran with my best friend in our local woods, and at that point she had been running regularly for a few months already and she was a lot better at it than I was. So it was nice the first few times but after a while I really started to notice the gap between us and I just couldn’t keep up.
Then at the end of September I moved to London for my studies. New start, I thought, the chance to give it another go (at this point I don’t even know how I had any hope left in me). And, surprise surprise! I FINALLY FOUND SOMETHING THAT WORKED FOR ME. This is just what does it for me and it might not be the same for everyone, but maybe it’ll work for someone else out there:
1 – CREATE A GOOD PLAYLIST. This is the most important one for me. I kid you not, 90% of my motivation to go running is because of that playlist. Personally, what motivates me the most is cheesy music from the 70s-80s, the kind of music they have on Smooth radio. The Bee Gees, Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, the Pointer Sisters… all that good stuff. The Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack is perfect for that. I just love it so much and it’s my favourite kind of music to rock out to, so when it comes to running it just makes me feel so full of energy. AAAIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIIIIIGH ENOUGH.
2 – Go running when it’s dark. The reason why that helps me is because when I’m doing something that I supposedly don’t like, I get so easily distracted and I stop focusing on what I’m doing and I soon get tired of it. If it’s dark I can’t see much so there’s nothing to distract me. It’s more intimate and I feel like I’m in my own bubble and I can focus on myself and my breathing. Also, you know how being outside at night kind of makes you feel unstoppable? Maybe it’s just me.
3 – Download some kind of running app that keeps record of your progress and talks to you while you’re running. I use the Nike app and it’s so helpful that they have a little voice that notifies you every kilometer you run and tells you exactly how long you’ve been running. It’s pretty cool just saying’! (I swear I’m not sponsored)
4 – Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to achieve a certain distance or a certain time. That just makes the whole thing unnecessarily stressful and unpleasant. We all have our good days and bad days, and sometimes you might be really pumped up and ready to kick ass and other times you might feel a bit under the weather and not be able to do as much. AND THAT IS FINE! Who cares if you ran 8 minutes less than last time, it doesn’t matter. Just as long as you do it and you do as much as you can, that is good enough.
Two years ago I was incapable of running for more than 15 minutes without feeling like I was dying. Now I’m physically able to run for an hour and actually ENJOY IT. That is a huge achievement for me.
And please if you think you’re not good at sports, YOU ARE. You just need to try it out and give your body time to get used to it. And once you get past that first stage of hating it and just wanting to quit, you’ll find that it’s actually quite nice and refreshing, and maybe you’ll even look forward to doing it every week.
Ain’t no stoppin’ us now !
(Here’s a little selection of my motivation playlist, because I know you want it : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLhw3JX2KBbb5o10rjvChh4mJvNpqoz2zx )