Every runner needs some help to stay motivated from time to time. Here are a few ideas to help keep you on your toes and off the sofa!
1) Run Free
Ditch your schedule, route plan and stopwatch. Head out the door and, once you’re warmed up, literally run like a child. Don’t worry about form, how fast you’re running, where you’re going or how far. Just go for it. Let everything go. Feel the wind in your hair. Enjoy the exhilarating thrill of running fast. It feels good. Feels like you’re flying. Nothing can hold you back…
2) Head for the Hills
Hill training is great for creating “buns of steel”! Not only that but your whole body will get a good workout, including your arms and chest. It’s also enormously beneficial for building strength, endurance and speed.
Try not to approach a hill with a feeling of doom, though. Hills are only hard if you make them hard. Instead, see it as an opportunity to vary your pace and leg stride. Change down a gear and lessen your speed as the gradient increases. Use your arms to help power you up to the summit.
When you get to the top, allow yourself to revel in that sense of elation. Hurrah you’ve made it! Let the endorphins flow!
Then, liberate your legs and arms as you enjoy some effortless speed on the way back down. This requires a different style and attitude. Relax your whole body, chill out and enjoy the ride!
3) Push the Boundaries
Be progressive. Challenge yourself on your regular run, be it 2 miles or 10. You can do it faster, can’t you?
Time it. Record it. Beat it!!!!!
4) Run to the Beat
Would you go on a long car journey without a radio or music?
Depending on the type of run, music can give you that extra boost when you hit a slump, take your mind off the pain or just put an extra spring in your step.
Invest some time into creating the right playlist for the type of run you’re doing. If you’re going for speedwork, try having a fast beat song, followed by a slower song. Run hard to the fast beat, and then recover listening to something more chilled out.
Make sure you stay safe. Never have headphones on after dark or in unpopulated areas, and be aware of your surroundings.
5) Cool Running Gadgets & Gismos
Although spending your hard-earned cash on the latest running gadget won’t necessarily transform you from a red-faced, wheezing jogger into a finely honed, lean-machine athlete, it can be a good way to help inspire and motivate you.
Heart rate monitors are great for understanding how hard you’re running, help you track your progress, keep you running at the right intensity and stop you from under or over training.
GPS watches, such as the Garmin, can tell you how fast and how far you’re running including your elevation. They work in a similar way to the Sat Nav in your car. You can even impress your friends and family with how far you’ve run by downloading your routes onto Google Maps!
Similarly, you can use footpods, like those made by Polar, Nike and Suunto. These ingenious gadgets work by monitoring the movement of your foot and transmitting this data back to your watch. You’ll get all the information you need on your running distance, speed, cadence and much more!
So now you know that hills don’t have to be horrendous, running like a child and testing yourself can be fun, and music can make your runs rock! What's more, you no longer need to waste time measuring your routes using a bit of string and a map. There are plenty of swanky toys on the market that’ll do a much better job, and offer far more entertainment!
All you need to do now is get out running, and enjoy it!