Getting back into running

I am always happy to offer advice regarding running, training and nutrition.

I thought I would share with you a message that I received a few days ago from Tom, who wants to get back into running:

Dear Liv,
I am an old man who used to do a lot of running in the past but now find it difficult to get myself motivated to start again.
What do you suggest?

I replied:

Finding motivation really can be one of the toughest things. You say you did a lot of running in the past – therefore I assume that even now your goals will be quite high (whether that be how fast you ought to be running or how far). The first thing to do is to adjust your goals. You need to work up to a long / fast run. You need to EASE yourself back into running. Of course you won’t have the motivation to run 10K after five years off (even if you do it’ll probably hurt!) Therefore, make it easy for yourself. Aim, for the first time, to jog for 5 minutes. The next time make it 10, then 15 and so on. See how you go and adjust accordingly. With these slight increases your bound to see improvement. Seeing yourself improve is always encouraging and therefore, motivating in itself. But remember, it’s important to stick to a SLIGHT increase. Don’t push it too far, or you’ll be put off.

I’d advise not to use a running machine. Pick a scenic route that you’ll enjoy. Get excited about it being a sunny day, get excited about running through beautiful countryside and motivation will follow.

Remember how much you used to love running. Tell yourself that this love will return, as long as you take it steady to begin with.

Don’t just focus on running alone. Try going on some bike rides too, go on long walks, play tennis if you fancy. Keep doing other sports that you enjoy to secure your general health and wellbeing. If your lifestyle is active (but not too much that you’re exhausted) you should have more energy. Having energy will be a great natural motivation to want to get out, and get running.

Team up with a running buddy or join a running club. They cater for all levels and I find there’s nothing more motivating than having others around you. Firstly because you feel obliged to run if everybody else is. Secondly, because of all the great support you will receive. Everybody is in the same boat and you all encourage each other to keep going and keep training. It may sound like a slog but it’s really not – it’s great fun! You’ll make some friends and have a good laugh. At my local club, we’ll often go for a drink together after. Happy days.

Run to get faster, run to get fitter, run to feel happier.

Do let me know how you get on.

All the best,

Liv

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