Take a quick guess at runnings number one enemy. What do you think it is? Injury? Ill health? Manic drivers? Blistered toes? No, the nemesis of the modern runner is excuses. They stop more people running than anything else. In a perfect world there would be no episodes of the Weakest Link to distract us. Our body would digest jam roly-poly pudding within minutes, and there would be no injuries, hecklers or bad weather to derail our efforts. Heres a series of tips designed to obliterate the 10 most common excuses. With these tactics, youll never miss another session.
ILL MISS MY FAVOURITE TELEVISION PROGRAMME
Summoning the energy for après-work running is fine on club nights. There are stories of Hard Terrys Nettle Warrior to look forward to, among other things. But your favourite soap is on, and youre beginning to think running will have to wait until tomorrow. Celebrity trainer David The Body Doctor Marshall says you should train early in the day instead. That way, you make sure you get your session in. And morning running has the added benefit of raising your metabolism so you will burn more fat all day long. Exercise at 8am and your metabolism will be elevated till nine or 10pm, says Marshall. But if you train at 6pm, you only get that benefit for a few hours. The more vigorous the session, the greater the rise in your metabolism.
Buy a new alarm clock
IVE JUST EATEN
Its widely accepted that once anything solid has passed your lips, you should give it a two-hour grace period before running. But if waiting 120 minutes after finishing your tarragon chicken is ruining your plans for an early evening run, take heart. New research suggests that you may not have to wait that long. Each runner is different, and you should experiment to find out how long you need to wait before running, explains nutrition expert Asker Jeukendrup. But we believe that people can run within as little as a hour after eating. So you can still train after an evening meal.
Eat, wait an hour and then go for
IM TOO BUSY
Personal trainer Mark Ford says building running into your non-running routine is a great way of making sure you get out more often. If Saturday begins with a drive to the shops to pick up the papers, try running instead. Ford, who trains people at Londons Fitness Exchange, says you dont have to run hard and fast to turn your paper run into a mini-session. He also recommends lunchtime work-outs. Theyre a great way of building running into a hectic work schedule and building stamina. Running to the gym for 30 minutes of lunchtime cross-training will keep you on top of your game throughout the afternoon.
Investigate the newsagents in the
I HAVE NO ONE TO RUN WITH
Runners are sociable animals. And many miss runs because they would rather not run alone. Geoff Wightman head of Road-Running Policy Support at UK Athletics says that, because of the number of clubs around the country, there is no reason to suffer from loneliness of the long distance runner syndrome. Training with a partner is great fun and will make sure you dont miss your sessions. Geoff also advises joining a club and most have groups for people of all abilities.
Search out runners at your office
ITS RUINING MY SEX LIFE
If for some reason you must mow the lawn, then sure a run may well leave you too tired to push the Flymo. But dont feel that you must scrap a session in case it ruins your performance in another area. Research shows that running actually increases your sex drive. Experts at www.pponline.co.uk say that mens testosterone levels increase after a work-out. And a recent survey reported that women who listed running as their favourite sport also had more adventurous sex lives. All of which should put an end to no sex complaints.
Convince your partner to start running, too
ITS RAINING OUTSIDE
Mass-participation events such as the Flora London Marathon, Race for Life and the Nike 10K lead to a seasonal upturn in the number of runners. But this tails off as the weather cools and the lure of the sofa increases. If your enthusiasm flags in winter, take to heart the Russian saying theres no such thing as bad weather; just bad clothes. Current fabric technology means that you can buy kit that will keep you cool when its warm, and dry when its wet so theres no excuse not to run. Of course there are also perverse delights attached to running in the rain, which some consider liberating.
Get the gear
IVE RUN A MARATHON AND NOW IM BORED
Now, just think about that for a minute. Running has energised your life, recharged your sex drive and left you healthier and happier than the average couch potato. Youre not bored with running, just your running routine. Its time to add variety to your sessions and set new targets. Aim for a new PB at 10K. Or try orienteering or trail running. Amelia Bell, of the orienteering group Southern Navigators, suggests that both will provide new challenges to keep your running fresh and exciting. And taking yourself on to the trails or into the woods is a great way to beat runners blues, she says.
Learn how to use a compass
MY LEGS HURT AND IVE GOT SORE KNEES
Serious injuries are no fun. But minor niggles, aches and pains are all part of progressive training. Its perfectly normal to feel sore after a tough speed session or long run. The important thing is to recognise the difference between the pain of injury and the pain of improvement. If you have persistently sore joints and muscles, think about where you are running and look at your shoes, says RW Medical Adviser Dr Patrick Milroy. It could be that you are doing too many miles, too quickly on the roads, or that your shoes are either the wrong type for your gait or worn out. A pair of serious running shoes should last 400-700 miles. After that, they need to be replaced. Check for obvious creases in the midsole, which indicate over-compression, and stand the shoe on a flat surface and look at it from behind. If it leans over to either side its time to buy new shoes. If youre uncertain about midsole wear, go along to a specialist retailer and have them look at your old
shoes and then compare them with a similar new pair.
Log the mileage for each pair of shoes alongside your total weekly mileage
IM TOO FAT AND ILL GET HECKLED
Being heckled is a big deal for runners of all sizes. Theres nothing so galling as the invective of a spotty teen as you reach mile 11 of a Sunday run. And the comments endured by some are enough to put many off the sport for life. But it shouldnt. Ford says that running will help you lose weight quicker than any other sport. A 30-minute jog will burn about 300 calories, depending on your weight, he says. And the more you run, the quicker you get. Which means that next time youre heckled youll be able to catch the offender and give them a piece of your mind.
Plot your weight loss on a chart, and keep it on your fridge
IVE FALLEN IN LOVE WITH ANOTHER SPORT
When you first started running, you swore youd never love another sport. But the lure of the Sunday afternoon bike ride has proved hard to resist. And now youre torn between the thrills of two-wheel travel and your regular long run. A spokesman for cycling magazine Mountain Bike UK says that running provides a great fitness base for alternative pursuits. Most forms of exercise are complementary to other activities. Regular running will provide a great fitness base for mountain biking. For a start youll have strong legs, which are an enormous asset. The good news is that combining another activity with running will help you keep your training fresh. Once youve dabbled in different activities such as skating, surfing or biking, youll rediscover just why you liked running so much.
Dabble away, but remember that running will benefit your fitness for most other sports