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Training & advice

When the going gets tough..

We all have our ups and downs in everything we do including our running. Normally we're up when we start on a new training programme, when it's a new year and our resolution is to start running, to lose weight or to improve our fitness; or it could be September, the holiday's are over and it's time to get back into the routine of regular exercise.

The down can often come a few weeks into the programme. If you are increasing the mileage, the first few weeks can feel positive but you can get to a stage where it becomes stressful. Suddenly that half hour run that was easy to sneak into the day has grown to fifty minutes or an hour and it's difficult to find that sort of time and so you leave it all together and suddenly you're off the band wagon.

If this sounds familiar, it's time to take control of your programme and make it work for you and your lifestyle. If you are following a ten, twelve or sixteen week programme there is a good chance that it will build the volume week on week and this might not suit you. There will be some weeks when you need an easy week, either because you are tired or because you have a hecitc schedule in other areas of your life. If this sounds familiar you should consider using our Training Wizard who designs your programme on a weekly basis so that you can alter it as you see fit.

A generic training programme is also likely to build the intensity. Again, it is important that you take control of this in order to avoid injury, especially if you are new to hill work or speed work. Again, the Training Wizard can put these harder sessions in for you but can select them to be as part of an easy week so that the intensity is higher but the volume stays low.

So once you've taken control of your programme, what else can you do to keep motivation high? Here are a few things to keep in mind if your mojo needs recharging:

Remind yourself of why you run and then think of how it makes you happy

Why did you start running?  Perhaps it was for better health reasons or to complete a target race. Now think about how running makes you feel, whether it is in an event where the atmosphere carries you or when you are out training on your favourite route, at your favourite time of day and in your favourite weather.

Treat yourself to new kit

We are very fortunate in this day and age that we have a huge choice of running kit to buy. The running market is competitive and the running brands are fighting for shelf space by making their kit look good, feel good and generally improve the running experience. Treat yourself to new kit, shoes or accessories and you will look forward to heading out of the door to try it out!

Think of the extra calories you will be able to consume

Maintaining a healthy weight isn't really rocket science. The more energy you burn the more you need to put back in. By putting in the miles you can relax and eat more of your favourite foods without feeling guilty and putting on extra pounds, if it's done sensibly of course, so get out of the door for your run and look forward to your next meal!

Get some 'me' time

Many runners find that they clear their head or even solve problems whilst they are out on their run. If you're busy at work it may pay off to go out for twenty minutes or half an hour, clear your head and then be more productive when you get back.

Get the runner's high

It's true. Running releases endorphins that make you feel amazing. You may not feel like going out of the door initially but you will feel great once you are out running and you will feel awesome when you get back.

Keep a diary

Keep a training diary and log each run. At the end of the week, upload your weekly mileage on your handicap profile page. A visual chart of your mileage will keep you motivated to stay consistent.

Use the handicap scoring system to plan your future targets. Use the section "Time needed to improve your handicap" to set the target for your next race.

Finally, never forget why you started running, remind yourself what you love about running and consider what you want to get from your running in the future. With that in mind, enjoy your next run!