Tales of a City Girl

Returning to Running

This year I’ve decided I need to get back into exercise. Like everybody at the beginning of the year, really –  when your body resembles more of a pig in a blanket than a human and even your elasticated Christmas pyjamas feel more like control pants, suddenly a bit of self-discipline is actually pretty tempting. 

Plus, last year – meeting and moving in with my boyfriend, Dan – definitely made me lazier. I probably ate more Domino’s in the last year than I have done since Freshers year at uni.

For someone who didn’t want to choose between being single with a happy body , or in a relationship but with a belly that shuns skinny jeans, running is one of my favourite activities and after six weeks I feel like I’ve broken through a bit.

My feet may now resemble more of a hobbit’s and I get a resolute tug in the back of my calves after a long run, but the seed has been planted and I feel a lot better for it.

It does make it easier everyone in my new job is pretty fitness and health focused. No keeping office treats by the printer so everyone can have a munch while printing off stuff in this office.

The closest we’ve come to cake this year has been the fundraiser bake sale for a couple of colleagues running the London Marathon.

So, if you want to get into running too, here’s my penny’s worth –

Consistency is key, not speed – It’s easy to feel disheartened when you pop out for a run and are overtaken by men wearing shorts in sub-zero temperatures, but don’t be. They’re a special tribe of J Morgan runner T-shirts and freakishly well-developed calves and you shouldn’t be jealous. Speed will come, and I’ve found that keeping up my stamina then building on speed is a lot better – and makes you feel better than trying to run super fast then getting burned out. That’s how you get legs feeling like you’ve got early onset arthritis. If that doesn’t help, just bear in mind that if you are a woman, at least you don’t look as strange/borderline porny in Lycra running trousers.

Get the right trainers – There’s nothing quite like the look of love (I mean unbridled disgust) that spreads across the face of your significant other when you come home from your run, whip off your socks and show off your massacred toes. There’s nothing nice about a sock filled with blood (sorry). Get fitted for the right trainers at one of those running shops filled with runner Nazis and swallow the cost. Your feet will thank you for it. Although you should get used to not having 10 toenails anymore.

Find the right time to suit you to go running (no excuses) – It’s easy to make excuses for yourself, particularly at the beginning. If you’re trying to psych yourself up and then your work colleagues ask you to go for a post-work drink, it’s easy to turn your back on your well-laid cardio plans. Think you’re going to go for a run after your indulgent pub lunch? Trust me, you won’t. The best times to go for me are in lunch breaks; weekend mornings and forcing myself to go in the direction of the gym after work rather than my flat. Find  your key times when you’re likely to feel most motivated and stick to them.

Image attribution: srgpicker, Flickr