A few weeks ago, well years ago, I set myself the challenge of running every day. I’m just about getting into that groove. The first week I did every other day. The second week I did every day but Monday as that was a swim recovery day. This week I’m doing every day except Sunday as I swim then. If I’m tired I need to do it more. I have no issues running once I’m out there. I’m not in anyway bragging and suggesting it’s a walk in the park. It is hard work. It’s a fight but a fight I know how to win now. I don’t really have some inspirational running tips for you. If you tell me I’m crushing/nailing/smashing it I will quit just to annoy you. So how do I motivate myself?
- Head up and focus on the horizon. It will get closer.
- Stat announcements every x km or mile. I race against yesterday’s pace.
- Podcast distractions to take your mind off the slog.
- Have a running playlist. If I feel tired I shout “Hey Siri, play my running playlist” at my Apple Watch and it helps me through the last bit. I’ve set some of my best times to Hans Zimmer’s Man of Steel soundtrack.
- Know that it is hard work and know that you can do it. The struggle is part of the process. If you stop you definitely can’t do it. Run.
- Your body will adjust to running and it will become automatic. Run with a friend or podcast and you’ll forget that you’re “exercising”.
- You need to distract yourself from feeling like you can’t do it.
- Sprint the last bit just to get the adrenaline really going.
- I used to be 23 stone. I’ve lost 6 stone and ran a marathon. I used to tell myself that everyone was fitter than me. Now I’m that lone guy running in -2c on a rainy day. I can do this.
- Run outside because you get to see things, go places and get Vitamin D.
It’s funny how celebrity fitness video these tips sound. Ugh. Sorry. Maybe you can’t explain running without sounding like some fitness nutbar. Feel the burn! No gain without pain. Hang in the kitten. Smash that run, smash that avocado, smash that like and smash potatoe… *shrug*
The really bonkers thing about all this fitness stuff though is that the best part for me is when I’m at my limit. When I’ve ran 3 miles and I have 0.2 left, that’s when I speed up and push myself. It’s when I’m totally exhausted and my body is crying out for me to stop, that’s when I enjoy it most. Sounds odd right? I’m not medical man so I don’t know what is really going on. Is it adrenaline? I really can’t say but what I know is that feeling of almost ripping out of my body and hitting warp speed is an amazing feeling. Hmm. Not really selling it am I? The feeling of ripping out of your own skin and bursting all your muscles. It’s oddly great. I know that if I’m not feeling that then I’m not running or swimming at my best. I know I’m not pushing myself and it’s only by pushing myself that I’ll get better.
I have a phrase that helps me push on. If feel tired then I need to do it more. I reminds me that when I first started running and did 30 seconds I would be exhausted and want to quit. That’s just my lack of fitness telling me to give up and have a Mars bar. Screw that. If I’m tired, do it more and I’ll be less tired and able to go further.
People say exercise is good for mental health. In my experience I haven’t really noticed any benefit. I ran a marathon and I still get depression. How far do I have to go? That said, I have noticed something in the past few weeks of trying to do this every day. I guess you could call it satisfaction. I’m finally doing that thing I’ve wanted to do for years which is start the day with a run. I want to be the type of person who does that and I am now. I think that has really helped me over the past few weeks because I’m starting the day with a goal and an achievement. By 9am I’ve done something. That feels good. It’s this idea of mine that running every morning will make me a better photographer. Not the gear but the simple mental restructuring to make me into a better version of myself.