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September 23, 2017

As my first blog for run angel I decided to tackle the single most common issue I have presented to me by clients when the subject of running is raised.

As the months go on I will share my health and fitness tips for maintaining a healthy body and mind while running and how to help prevent injury but I wanted to start at the very beginning for those of you who perhaps don’t yet run.

So many of my clients down through the years would say to me - “I can’t run”, “I’d love to be able to run”, “It’s just not for me” etc, etc. Does this sound familiar?? If so, read on…

It is in fact, quite likely that you can run, maybe not well, maybe not fast, maybe not for ten minutes straight but you probably can run. As someone who has had a very love hate relationship with running I totally get this mental barrier that we put up to either ignore the actual reason behind our perceived inability, or to prevent a perceived failure due to this perceived inability. In other words we are afraid, we are afraid to try because we are afraid to fail. It honestly doesn’t matter one bit however because unless you plan to run competitively your only competition is yourself so failure really doesn’t come into it. When you compete with yourself you will always come in first place!! Firstly, lets set aside that fear.

You must acknowledge that very few of us can suddenly pick up any new activity and be great at it straight away. Think about when you first learned to drive a car, Mirror, Signal, Manouever always sounded so straight forward but you had to consciously repeat that phrase to coach you through the movements. You were training your brain and your body so you could eventually do this unconsciously. When it comes to running it’s the same. You have to put one foot in front of the other and maintain a nice steady pace that is just right for you and train your body to do this. Admittedly this requires a level of fitness that perhaps you may not yet have but that’s no reason to give up.

When you start to run your heart rate increases to deliver oxygen rich blood to your muscles to help them do their job without tiring, your rate of respiration (breathing) also increases to take in more oxygen to support this process. So what happens when you spend twenty minutes planning your route, ten minutes picking your outfit, another twenty selecting your play list and suddenly 3 minutes in to your hard planned run your legs are burning, your heart is pounding and your sides are aching? Well, your mind will throw every possible excuse forward to allow you to give up and chalk it down to “heavy legs”, “dehydration”, “a bad session”, “running is just not for me”, “I can’t do it” *insert your own personal reason here*

If you have gotten to the above stage every time you decided you wanted to run and keep giving up the solution is simple. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. When you feel out of puff, simply reduce the pace, keep moving but at a gentle jog or even a walk and allow yourself to catch your breath. Then once you have done this bring up the pace again until once more you are out of breath and struggling to maintain your pace, then, once more reduce your speed and continue this process. Run. Walk. Run. Walk. You will be absolutely amazed how, if you do this consistently a couple of times a week, within weeks your body will adapt and suddenly it will be able to run a little further for a little longer before you need to bring it down to a walk, next you will find the recovery walk becomes a gentle jog until one day you will complete a whole kilometre without having to slow down, then its 2k, 3k and so on. This my friends is the key to running. SIMPLE.

I say simple because physically to keep going at a reduced pace is very achievable for almost any level of fitness. The problem is usually your mind. It will want to give up and will throw every and any justification to the forefront to allow you to do just that, give up.

Getting your mind and body in tune is the real trick to running. Some of my happiest and most exhilarating runs have been those in the rain or by a beautiful seafront where my surroundings are stimulating me so much I forget myself and that self-doubting voice inside me is hushed. If this is where you struggle I have a few tips for you to try over the coming weeks:

  1. Get yourself outdoors; pick a beautiful run route to enjoy.
  2. Get the earphones in; music is a fabulous mood booster that can lift your spirits and thus your motivation to keep going.
  3. Sign up for a fun run with no goal other than to complete the short distance – absolutely no time pressure, just a goal to finish.
  4. Get rid of the expectations. Usually we expect more of ourselves than is at first achievable so we set ourselves up for disappointment.
  5. Switch off that little voice in your head, the negative one. Force the “why I can’t” to become “Why can’t I?”.

With this in mind I challenge every single one of you reading this blog to commit to even just one session, one (more) run. Get out there with the why can’t I attitude and see what you have got in you and remember self limiting beliefs are just that – limiting.

Follow me on: Instagram @CornerShopGym

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