Log onto your favourite social media channel at pretty much any time of the day and someone will be “off for a run”. Cue lots of likes because getting moving and staying motivated isn’t always easy, and those who do run know that. As a trainer and someone who runs himself I hope that all of these making the effort to get out and run are running effectively.
When you learn to drive you, at first, do everything by the book in a mechanical way. As time and experience "takes over" you become less tense and more relaxed about your driving. This doesn’t make you a bad driver. When it comes to running however, people do pick up bad habits over time which means that their run isn’t as effective as it might have and won’t help them reach their goals.
1. Keep a Journal
It could be a few notes on your phone or in a paper journal but keeping a track of how far you ran, the times, what the weather / terrain was like and how you felt (i.e. was it harder than usual, were you off your game, was something not right or what did you really nail down this time), can be a big help. Looking back will help you identify times that you didn’t feel your best, pinpoint when bad habits started to creep in and can help you reassess your routines, training times and goals.
2. Listen to Your Body
You know when you’ve had a blooming good run because you can feel it. You know what a decent run feels like. If your body isn’t giving off that vibe, consider why. New or returning aches and pains should not be brushed off either. They may be incidental or they could be connected with your running style / gait. It might simply be that you need new / different trainers or running shoes.
3. Have a Goal
There’s nothing wrong with going for a run for the sake of a run however long term you will remain more focused if your run is helping you get closer to a goal. It could be a new running time or distance, or it could be that your runs are contributing to losing excess fat.
4. Review Your Runs
It’s all very well listening to your body, having goals and writing your runs down but if you don’t use the information you have the chances are you won’t be running effectively, or won’t continue to do so. Blips in a fitness journey are common, recognising what is holding you up goes a long way to putting you back on track for a run routine that makes you feel like you’ve really succeeded.
Running because you enjoy it is great, running because you enjoy it and you get a lot out of it physically and mentally is even better. Keep track of your movement and make sure the work you put in is paying you back fairly!