image description

Training & advice

Barriers to running

So you’ve heard all of the reasons why you should run: the health benefits, the social scene, the accessibility in terms of cost and places to do it but there is still that little gremlin sitting on your shoulder telling you that it’s not for you! In this article we look at some of the barriers to running and how you can knock them down and get past them.

Time

This is the most common reason people give not to run but there are many reasons to make time for exercise and running can be done and dusted more quickly than most. How long does it take to lace your shoes, get out of the door and trot around the park?  You really only need 30 minutes three times a week to get started. If you feel that you don’t have time because you have too much work to do then think again. Studies have shown that employees are more productive at work if they have time to exercise. Fit a run into your lunch break and you will find you get much more work done in the afternoon than you would have if you worked straight through. Once you start putting it in as part of your routine it will become habit and a good habit to be in! The other challenge to time is family commitments, especially if you have a young family and find yourself running your children to their activities rather than taking part in them yourself. Joining a running club could be a solution to this as there is usually a young athletes section so your children could benefit from running at the same place and time as you. Your children will also benefit from having a fitter and more energetic mum or dad and they will be proud of the runner that you are!

Body Image

Many people feel too self-conscious to run and worry about what they look like. The reality is that most people see runners, of every shape and size, on the roads or in the park and look at them with admiration wishing they were in those shoes! If you really do feel uncomfortable with how other people see you there are a few options you could consider:

  • Join a Run England or jogscotland group where any worries about how you look will disappear as you will be running with friends impressed by your will to run and won’t care about how you look.
  • Run early in the morning before the rest of the world is up. It’s a great time to run as you will have the roads or trails to yourself and won’t have to wait for traffic when crossing the road or need to think about how the car drivers see you. You should avoid lonely places to run though and certainly don’t use an i-pod if you do go off the beaten track as you should stay alert and notice if there is anyone else in the area. There are also less distractions to you in the morning. If you get your run done as soon as you get up it is over and done with and you won’t be thinking about how you’re going to fit it into your day.
  • Run on a treadmill. Some people find the gym environment more friendly than out on the roads or you could invest in your own treadmill and run at home until you have built your confidence.

Motivation

If the health benefits are not enough to motivate you then you should look at all of the other incentives that are out there. Have a look at the runbritain handicap scoring system that gives you:

  • opportunity to enter the monthly Reward Running 2012 competition
  • personal progress graph
  • direct comparisons with other runners with a 'head-to-head' function
  • weekly mileage logger and graph
  • national ladder position showing your ranking amongst all UK runners
  • current rankings at each of the major distances (5K, 10K, HM, Mar)
  • handicap score updated automatically after each run
  • target times to bring score down to the next level
  • training schedules to help you achieve your targets

By being a part of this you will have the incentives you need to keep your running going as you will enjoy seeing your progress. The handicap scoring system is designed to give road runners of all abilities a benchmark of their progress and comparisons of their results across a range of distances and terrains.

Click here to see a sample page - the winner of the 2011 Reward Running Competition

Click here to claim your handicap

Getting advice from a qualified leader or coach will also help your motivation. The leader or coach will put together a programme for the group that includes a variety of training sessions so that you're not always plodding around the same route in the same time. You will also be running with company and chatting whilst you run. Before you know it you will have completed the training session and logged the miles! You may want to try orienteering which requires you to navigate your way around a course, finding 'controls' a bit like a treasure hunt. You will be surprised how quickly the time goes when your mind is occupied with navigation! Often the hardest part of running is getting out of the front door. Once you are out there you will enjoy the run and when you have finished you will have an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction.

Running with music can also work wonders for your motivation. Check out our runwithrhythm section for top tips and tracks.

Lack of fitness

You may feel that you are carrying too much weight and are not fit enough to even start running but you can build up to it slowly. Visit your GP for a health check first and then ask a qualified leader to help you on your way. Your programme should include cross training and walking as well as running and you should choose softer surfaces to run on, such as parkland, playing fields or tow paths.

Comfort

You should invest in comfortable and flattering clothing. If you are female ensure that you have a well-fitted sports bra. Every runner should wear running shoes that are suitable for his or her running style and body type so visit your local running specialist store for this advice. Some people say that they would feel intimidated to go into a running store as they perceive that they are only for good runners. This couldn't be further from the truth. Elite runners tend to know the shoes that work for them and so buy them from the internet. It is the new runners that need the advice and knowledge of the running specialist and it is the new runner's needs that are at the heart of the running specialist. Don't risk cutting your new fitness regime short by succumbing to injury through wearing the wrong shoes.

Age

You are rarely too old to run and there are many good reasons to keep on running!

So there you have it! There really is no excuse to start running and keep on running!