Some weeks, your running motivation is on overdrive, but others? Not so much. That’s cool. You’re only human after all, and we all know life can get in the way. If you need a hand kicking your brain (and legs) into gear, here’s how to gently persuade yourself a little run could be just what you need...
When your social life gets in the way
A few after-work drinks here, a meal out with friends there, and all of a sudden your regular running routine has seriously lapsed. Now, we have nothing against a social life, but sometimes good nights out are best balanced with the headspace of a run. Even better, get your friends to join you (or join a running club or group) and voilà, you have the perfect socialising/running mix!
When you’re all partied out
If you’ve had a big night out, the last thing you can feel like is a run the next day. If your hangover symptoms are mild, and as long as you make sure you’ve had a decent breakfast and are fully hydrated, a very gentle run could help bring you back to the land of the living. If, however, you are feeling distinctly unwell, skip the run and go for a gentle walk in the fresh air instead.
When you’re feeling generally frazzled
Our hectic, ‘always-on’ lives can sometimes leave us feeling like we’re too busy to run. But often, taking time out from our schedules is just the thing we need. Studies show that office workers who go for a lunchtime run actually feel more alert and productive in the afternoon, compared with non-running counterparts. Plus, by focusing on your breathing and surroundings as you run, you can turn it into an exercise in mindfulness – the perfect antidote to stress!
When you’ve had a long day with the kids
Running around after your kids all day (and being left to carry ALL the things on a trip to the park: coats/drinks/scooters/bags) can leave you feeling exhausted. In fact, putting your feet up and downing a glass of wine can often feel like the only realistic goal, once you’ve managed to wrangle your little ones into bed.
But a short run could do the trick too, providing a rush of feel-good endorphins and some valuable me-time, where you can forget about being ‘Mummy’ (or ‘Daddy’) just for a moment, and focus on achieving something for yourself.
When you’ve had back-to-back meetings
The mental exhaustion of a full day in the office can similarly leave you feeling tired out and dreaming of the sofa. But this is the worst thing you can do! Office workers typically lead sedentary lives between the hours of 9-5 (and beyond), so give yourself a pick-me-up and run once you get home (or even better, try a run commute home!). Often the exhaustion you’re feeling is mental, not physical, so some exercise will do you the world of good.
When you’re feeling under the weather
Feeling unwell can definitely put you off running. While of course, if you don’t feel like running, it’s absolutely fine to skip sessions, a gentle run can help clear your head. The general rule is that if your symptoms are from the neck up (for example a head cold), it’s fine to run.
Obviously there are times when running is a definite no go. If you’re injured, steer clear of running until you get the all-clear from your doctor or physio, and if you’re unwell with symptoms such as a high temperature, chesty cough or upset tummy, don’t run or you could risk making yourself worse.