A few weeks ago, I was asked whether I was a ‘runner’ and I stumbled over my answer – sure I’ve clocked up 552 miles in my trusty turquoise Brooks this year, I’ve finished a marathon and I’ve joined a running club, but does that make me a runner?
It’s very easy to compare yourself to others – from some of the incredible bloggers I follow on Instagram, one of which has done 12 marathons in 12 months (Clare, you astound me), to friends at my running club who run much more often, much quicker and much further than I do – in comparison, these are the ladies (and gents) I would call runners.
Yet in response to my rather bumbled answer, I was told if you have more than one pair of running shoes, no matter how far they’ve gone, you’re officially a runner. So, here goes, as I look back on this years’ 552 miles, I’m sharing my new-runner tips with those getting started. Here’s to 2018 and all the miles it may bring:
- Listen to your body – I’ll never stop saying this enough, but it turns out most of the time, you’ll know when your body isn’t up to a run. I’ve been pretty lucky this year in terms of injuries, and it will always amaze me how quick your body responds to training, but if you’re ever in doubt, stop and ask someone who knows what they’re talking about.
- If I can do it, anyone can – I don’t need to tell anyone I’ve already met how stubborn I am, but I really do believe if I can run a marathon, anyone can. Lace up your trainers and start slowly and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your body responds.
- It’s most definitely a ‘bug’ – I told everyone who would listen that once the marathon was over, my running days were done. I said my goodbyes to my Wednesday night running club and longed to get back to my old gym routine. It turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong. Within two weeks I was back in the club and signing up to races throughout the year – get ready, the bug is real.
- You’ll meet some lovely people along the way – Compared to the pushy personal trainers you might meet in the gym, runners really are a lovely bunch. Whether you’re into times and half-splits, or just want to do your first 5k, you’ll find an overwhelmingly supportive crowd on social media and in real life once you start looking.
- Don’t make it a competition – I also don’t need to mention the fact I’m hugely competitive – from throwing tennis rackets to screaming at my boyfriend for learning to surf quicker than me, I make everything a challenge. Running is no different, and I’ve already blogged about the need to unwind and unplug to help myself fall in love with running again. Don’t compete with yourself or others you run with – there’s always someone faster than you and that’s ok.
- Write down your reason to run – The London Marathon campaign this year asked you for your reason to run, and I think that’s a really important message. For me, it was to prove to myself that I could, after years of punishing my body with anorexia. 26.2 miles later, I was exhausted, in tears, but overwhelmed at how far I’d come. Now, my reasons for run are very different, but having it in your mind will keep you going on the days where it’s much easier to close the Nike run app and stay in bed.
- Make a playlist that makes you laugh and cry – I once interviewed Laura Fountain, editor of Lazy Girl Running and have always remembered her telling me she always has Frozen’s ‘Let it go’ on her ultra-marathon playlist. According to Laura, the line ‘it’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small’ kept her going, no matter how far she was from the end. So, whatever the distance, make a good playlist, it will keep your legs moving.
- Join a running club – One of my best decisions this year, this wonderful group of people were the support I needed to get me through my training, and keep me running once a week when work takes over.
- Get outside – Last but by no means least, get off the treadmill and get outside. Whatever the weather, you’ll feel better for it and you’ll see some amazing sunsets, sunrises or landmarks along the way.
Finally, thank you all for reading this year. Wishing you a happy, healthy 2018!