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6 ways to successfully start running

running success

If you’re thinking about lacing up and starting your journey to 5K parkruns, or even marathons and triathlons, we know how hard it can be to get started. We spoke to competitive triathlete and clinical sports psychologist Dr Victor Thompson (www.sportspsychologist.com) about some of the reasons you might be holding yourself back and how to find your stride:

  1. Find your motivation: Think about why running, jogging or even going for a walk will be a good decision today. Will it make you feel better, happier, proud? Will it help your health? Will it prove yourself or someone else (the negative people, the doubters) wrong? Move more today and feel better about it.
  2. Get into the mindset: Push away thoughts of how you used to be. What is more important is how you are today, what you want to do today, to start today and that is all that is important. Focus on that and believe that good things might just come.
  3. CONFIDENCE: Focus on how running, or just moving a bit more, will help you feel proud of you. Isn’t that what’s important? Choose a small goal for the day – such as running a lap of the park, running for one minute, then walk for 2, repeating 5 times. Feel good that you have done more today than yesterday. You have achieved a lot. You’ve really started something.
  4. Break distance up into smaller chunks: You then focus on this chunk, not the entire distance. During each chunk you can have a focus. Let’s say that there are 4 chunks. Chunk one might be about settling into a comfortable pace, not overcooking it. The second chunk could be about running with good form, landing softly with your feet so they make minimal noise. The 3rd chunk, when you are over half-way (yeah-hah), could be about being positive or encouraging about how you are running, about this challenge. The 4th, the home stretch, could be about evaluating how you are doing, if well and still with energy then it could be about increasing the pace, if you are struggling, then it could be about holding on for the finish.
  5. Don’t let injuries hold you back: These types of nerves are understandable – you have had a horrible time (pain, shock…) so you want to avoid that again. So, pause and try and learn about why the accident happened and what can be done to reduce it’s reoccurrence. Then, accept that it is understandable to feel some nerves. Encourage yourself to get back to running once your body has healed enough. Face the fear, know that it will subside and that you will feel great again to be back running stress-free before too long.
  6. Fight “the Wall”: The Wall is the experience we have when our body runs out of glycogen or carbohydrate stores and we experience a dip in physical and mental ability due to running on our fat reserves. The first challenge is to be stocked up enough before your runs and to taken on carbs (drinks, gels, sweets) during your runs so that you don’t hit the wall. The second is to manage quickly it when it happens, by taking in some sweet carbohydrates and maybe by backing off the pace to digest and use the carbohydrates.
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