If you’ve decided 2013 is your year to get fit then it’s time to spring into action. Just at the planning stage of your training programme? Don’t worry. There’s a fair few New Year resolutioners who will have fallen by the wayside by now, so joining the party late is better than having quit already. And, if you’re one of the resolutioners who have stuck with things so far and needs an extra boost, hopefully this article will have some tips you can take away.
Many people turn to running when they want to improve their fitness levels because of the freedom and flexibility it offers. There’s no need to sign up to a monthly gym fee and to a degree, you can train when and where you like.
However, with this autonomy comes responsibility. To make progress you need to commit yourself to exercise and set yourself goals and one of the best ways of doing this is to sign up or a number of events throughout the year. Some of the most popular events get booked up very quickly, so it’s worth considering early on where you’d like to stretch your legs over the course of the year now. Another advantage to setting early goals is that it helps you to direct your training, you can build up towards longer races and the pressure of race days approaching can give you that push to go for your evening jog instead of slumping on the sofa. Whether you’re driven by raising money for charity or the fear of collapsing in a heap in public, signing up to events can be excellent motivation.
Making people aware that you’re training can help keep you on track, metaphorically and physically. If those around you know you are working towards a specific goal or race they are far less likely to persuade you to cheat on your diet or exercise regime. If one of your motivations to get fit is to lose weight, there are a lot of free resources out there that can help and work alongside your training schedule. Take a look at the myfitnesspal app, which can help you monitor calorie intake and exercise levels.
Entering races can be expensive, so pick your official events wisely. In the UK, many races take place on Sundays, so bear in mind that you may need to travel back from the race venue before work on Monday morning. You might already have in mind the races that you want to run; the Great North Run and London marathon attract a lot of attention, but did you know Yorkshire is launching its own marathon this year? To find races in within traveling distance of your home, check out the online resource Running Diary.
Aside from the cost of races, running can be a very cost-effective hobby; you can build up a stock of specialist running stock gradually. That said, the one thing you can’t go without is a pair of proper running shoes like a pair from Millet Sports, which will prove invaluable in keeping your feet road ready. The type of shoes you need is dependent on your gait and you can have this measured for free in specialist running shops. Buying running shoes that support your foot in the right places helps prevent injury, though you shouldn’t feel under pressure to buy expensive shoes in-store as it’s often cheaper to note the type of shoe and support you need and order more cheaply online.
When you do start your training, use all of the free resources at your disposal to help you on your way. Race organizers often send out tips, advice and training plans and you can also sign up to online route planners like map my run. Another option is to join a running club. Clubs often charge for membership but come with lots of social benefits, which can be motivational and of course, you might find that you can share lifts to and from events.
Once you’ve set your course for a year of running success, remember to take time out to celebrate your achievements and notice the changes in your body shape and well-being. Running can provide great solo stress relief or open up your social circle and offers consistent rewards. The best bit is that how you shape your running route is entirely up to you.