LONG distance running is a mental sport and we are all insane. Why you ask? I put it down to the endurance, lean muscle sculpting, and calorie smashing results that you can achieve, not to mention the pride and the satisfaction of pushing your body to healthy limits like no other, keep you coming back for more.
Natalia and I started our long distance running journey in 2011 when our father signed us up to a half-marathon in New Zealand. We thought we were going for a weekend away consisting of food, touristing, and more food. He informed us with a cheekiness about him seven days prior to the race that he had registered us at just 15 and 17 years of age.
The most I had ever run before that was 8km. So we condensed 10 weeks of training into less than 10 days.
Long story short, we finished it and we loved it. Six years later we have run numerous half marathons and five marathons between us, all before the age of 24. And I can tell you now, we were not born with the 'I love running' gene.
After finishing our first half we realised how satisfying the mental and physical challenge was. It pushes your body to limits you never thought you could reach. You have to be your own motivation and support team in your own mind. There is no one to tell you to do one last effort, to push that bit harder. It's all you.
A couple of years later we watched our father hit the streets of New York City for the world renowned marathon, which is where we truly developed a passion for running. The excitement and joy of the finishers was contagious.
Running is no doubt one of the best types of cardiovascular exercise you can do for the entire body. It's great for circulation, endorphin release, stress relief, strengthening, and heart health.
Daunted by the idea of running? Don't shy away from the challenge. That's what we are here for. MINOMA Health & Fitness has put together three different running programs to suit different individual goals which is now available to purchase for just $15.
Regardless of your end goal, the plan we have put together will turn you into a calorie-burning, goal-smashing endurance machine. This learn-to-love-running strategy is so simple anyone can do it.
If you're a total newbie, or a returning after a long break from running, follow these ten simple tips to becoming/returning to being a runner (and loving it):
1.Don't start off too big. Start off slow and work your way up to longer distances and faster speeds. Don't even think about the pace to begin with. As a general rule you should run at a pace that you can maintain a conversation. I sometimes call my sister overseas for an hour to pass time, or use it as an opportunity to catch up with girlfriends.
2. Tune into your body along the way, it's the best coach you'll ever have.
3. Create or follow a playlist that will motivate, inspire and get the adrenaline pumping with an appropriate tempo and upbeat music. Creating a playlist that keeps you motivated could be the difference between loving and hating a run (see my favourite playlist below).
4. Take it outside. It's much easier to lose track of time and a great opportunity to watch the sunrise. This can have a huge impact on your overall mood and can be a great way to de-stress.
5. Maintain motivation. Running within your comfort zone creates a momentum that fuels motivation to continue to run consistently.
6. Forget the past. Whatever feelings or fears you associate with running - leave them behind! Forget about the trainer that punished you with running and forget about the memories of not being athletic in your youth. Being a runner is not about skill or speed, but about the mindset.
7. Set goals. Find local spots with markers such as speed bumps. This way you can have a little high-five moment each time you reach these points.
8. Experience running from the sideline. Go to the next park run or Road Runners Race. As it did for my sister and I, it is a great way to ignite a passion for running.
9. Pick up an upcoming race, like the Townsville Running Festival in August and actually pay the registration fee. This will motivate you to reach your goal (even more so if it's charitable!)
10. Keep track of your runs with running Apps such as MapMyRun, Nike Running Pro or RunKeeper.
11. Break up the distance with strength based exercises for your hip stabilisers, back and core. These muscles are important for injury prevention and endurance. Try doing one loop of The Strand Rockpool, followed by a core or glute-based exercise in between. This active recovery will get you ready to do three more laps.
Our best tip is to power through. When you're starting out, the fight is as much mental as it is physical. Always remember, as with most challenges in life … MIND OVER MATTER.