Running is, in my opinion, one of the best sports for both physical and mental health.
It makes you fitter, stronger, slimmer… whilst also allowing you to reflect, take a break from studying or work; improving circulation and helping you think clearer.
On a practical level, it’s free, does not require any special equipment and is something you can do almost anywhere!
What’s not to love?
Whether you’re a beginner, a total pro looking to mix things up or simply trying to make it more enjoyable, browse my top tips to make running an de-stressing, enriching and enjoyable experience.
* Build distance up gradually.
Get a playlist and run for as long as it lasts, adding more and more songs as your fitness improves.
You could start with just three songs and then after a week of running, add a fourth song, then a fifth, sixth, etc.
Music will help distract you from any initial discomfort and a fast-paced, uplifting beat will help stimulate tired muscles and keep you going for longer, hence improving fitness quicker.
* Listen to music that you can get lost in
You don’t have to listen to music which is specifically recommended for running, just listen to something that will distract you from any discomfort or fatigue, and that will make the run a pleasant experience.
Thanks to music streaming, there are lots of pre-created workout playlists to move to.
Alternatively, listen to a podcast because, again, it will be distracting and make the run more entertaining.
* Buy some slick new running kit
My theory is, the more expensive, the more it will motivate you to run and justify the money you spent on it!
Not to mention looking cute while running is bonus for anyone.
* Have a goal to work towards and to motivate you
It could be something like wanting to lose a certain amount of weight or it could be you are running a half marathon or a 5k run.
Whatever it is, a real planned, daily fitness goal will stop you falling into a New Years Resolution kind of situation- ie. only sticking to it for a while before getting distracted/bored and ultimately giving up altogether.
* For weight-loss, avoid long, slow runs.
If your goal is to lose weight, I would recommend sprinting for a few minutes (e.g. 2), then jogging slowly for a longer period of time (e.g. 5) and repeating several times (perhaps 4-8 times depending on your fitness level).
This is likely to burn more calories, speed up your metabolism in the long term, and most crucially, keep your metabolism racing for the rest of the day- so you will burn any other calories you consume faster, therefore being conducive to weight loss.