Updated: Aug 26
I started running during the quarantine because I was shamed into it....I remember it was a nice sunny day, I was sitting on the sofa enjoying the lock down when out of the corner of my eye my wife was stretching and limbering up to go jogging....I tried my best to avoid eye contact for fear of being invited so I used all my introvert skills of avoidance...unluckily for me I was caught.
The next thing I know, I was tying up my trainers and putting on a running jacket...
My first official "lockdown" run was 2nd April 2020 and apparently it was a 7km run, I would argue that my Fitbit was playing up and there was no way that I did 7km especially as the GPS didn't connect properly and even if it was 7km, I'm pretty sure that it was a walk.
My previous run before that was March 19th just before the lock down and previous to that it was in February and if you want to find out how long it was before that it was last year!
Yeah....I'm not a runner.
The majority of my workouts were based around strength and no conditioning! I used all the excuses that I could find about being too busy, my legs hurting or that I wasn't built for running. To be fair my legs did really hurt every time I ran and probably having spent most of my life lifting weight and developing muscle I don't have the natural body of a runner.
The quarantine took most of the excuses out of the way, I suppose I didn't hate running it was just difficult to do and my only solace was that I did used to run growing up so the pain you endure is only temporary until your body just adapts to the routine.
I figured I would write this little post to put my thoughts down for anyone who was thinking about running because lets face it, if I can do it, you definitely can!
Tip 1: Put it in the diary
By some stroke of madness you've decided to take up running and in the beginning you're in this half in and out stage where you like the idea of running but then do it and realise that it sucks! I was fairly temperamental when it came to running and I tried using excuses to delay it. The slightest wind or it was too hot were some good excuses to use or my best one was "I just didn't feel awake yet at 12.30pm to go running" At the back of my mind I knew I had to do it....because otherwise I'd sit there in lockdown doing nothing! (I did build a computer as my lockdown project)
I found that if I put it in the diary I would definitely do it and if I didn't do it my wife would be on my back about it, which leads me into my next tip.
Tip 2: Find a running buddy or at least someone to shame you into doing it
Running with a friend helps to take your mind away from the torture and it doesn't feel like training if you're just catching up. In the beginning this can help you control your running pace, I know for myself that I run a little bit too fast and burn myself out, if you're chatting to a friend you tend to slow down to be able to talk comfortably. This also helps in the beginning to build up the muscles in your feet and legs as they get used to the impact.
Tip 3: Listen to your body
There were a few times because of the training schedule when my legs were sore from kettlebells/weight lifting but also there were a few times that my feet or calves felt like they weren't ready.
Try to be aware of the feedback from your body, whether it's a sore heel, tight calf or hip, sometimes a small complaint can disappear during the run or come back to haunt you later on.
Tip 4: Stretch, Roll and Mobilise
If you do get those pains and aches, massage, stretching or improving your mobility can really help. I don't want to delve too deep into this section as this is a whole post in itself. Here's a simplified version, we all run/move differently so every time we do the same motions the fascia (connective sheath around our muscle) can wrinkle up causing pain, a massage therapist would usually find these knots and press on it to relieve the tension but if you're minimising contact from people due to the pandemic then a foam roller, massage gun or even a deodorant spray can works well to help.
Build it into your routine, I like to stretch and roll 30-45 minutes before bed which helps relieve the tension and relaxes you before bed.
General areas that I would recommend for runners would be the calves, IT Band/ TFL area and the hip flexors.
Tip 5: Treat yourself
I don't know if this works for everyone, maybe it was just me but buying something running related did give me a extra boost. I convinced myself that buying a running watch was going to help me so while there was an Amazon prime sale I went and purchased the Garmin Forerunner 245. Possibly the best purchase I've made, reliable GPS, battery life and prompts from the in-built running coach. Do you need all the gear? no but if it keeps you going and motivates you tie up your shoes to go running, then why not!
I realised along the journey that I needed to do this and made my peace with gyms being closed during the lock down, even if I could use the studios for my own training I just couldn't get into a good routine, refocusing my efforts into running kept me from becoming a fully fledged hermit!
Have you got any tips that could help ignite someones passion for running? please do drop it into the comments below.