I went out for a run this morning. It was another gorgeous, sunny day so it seemed a shame not to. Now, when I say run ... well, it's really a jog and infact more of a plod at times. I was playing badminton last night, so perhaps feeling a little tired. It turned into more of a nature ramble than a run, as I stopped and walked at fairly frequent intervals.
We constantly feel that we 'have' to do things and sometimes we just need to let ourselves off the hook every now and then. So what if we don't complete our run in record time? So what if we have to stop and walk for a bit? I go out to run/jog because I enjoy it. Not every time maybe but just to get outside into the fresh air, take a look at how the seasons change throughout the year is worth a little discomfort. I'm a fairly lazy runner - I'm not one of these people who is out in all weathers, pounding the pavement, running for miles while training up for a marathon.
Sometimes we're our own worst enemy. Exercise is something you do for a reason and it should be for the right reasons. Not as a chore. I exercise because I want to stay fit and healthy. I don't want to turn into an overweight couch potato but I'm not going to beat myself up because I don't make it out for a run when it's cold and wet outside or I have the occasional cream cake or even ... a chocolate bar.
Regular running definitely builds up strength and stamina and of course gets you fitter. Run consistently 3-4 times a week for a couple of weeks and you'll see a difference - see it as a healthy form of free exercise. If you're new to running, start out gently - alternate walking with running until you can run continuously for 20 minutes. Build up slowly by running 2-3 times a week. Every other day is great. I often find if I've had a short break - I actually have a better run. If I'm tired or dehydrated - it's hard work, so get plenty of sleep and water. Plan to build up to 30-40 minutes on a regular basis and maybe longer if you have more time. I want to enjoy my running and not make it a chore, so 20 minutes is better than nothing and keeping moving, even if I have to walk for some of it, is still better than not getting out at all.
Keep a running diary - or some way of tracking your progress. This can help to push you to do better. See if you can cover a certain distance quicker each time. My longer run is about 40 minutes. When I first did it - it was more like 50, walking up the hilly bits and after a few weeks I can get it down to about 35 on a good day! It's also useful to note if you feel particularly tired or if a certain part of your body is aching or hurts before or after the run. Of course, make sure you stretch out afterwards. I find my calves ache less if I stretch them out before I start and after running for about 5-10 mins when they've warmed up.
Get into the habit of running regularly and it will soon become part of your routine. You don't have to do it for any other reason than as a way of keeping fit and don't be too hard on yourself if you don't make it out when you don't feel up to it.