Monday, 1 July 2013

The biggest excuses I make when I run and how I overcome them

“It’s too cold/it’s too hot”

Living where I do, it gets freezing in Winter and there’s always a 40+ heatwave in Summer. Right now it’s Winter and sometimes I really think I’m just not made for the cold. I always crank the heater and put on many, many layers. When it comes to my run I like to do it either in the morning or late afternoon, even when I’m home all day. I wake up pretty early on my days off anyway and once ‘Sunrise’ is over is when I like to go. I don’t like to go when there’s too many people on the roads heading to work and school and that’s just a preference of my own. However, going running in the morning is hard. It’s cold, there’s frost on the grass and my breath is fogging in the air. So what I do is sit in front of the heater, pull on all my running gear, slip on some gloves and my HEADPHONES, which are very important as I get earaches when my ears are to cold, and then I’m off. I find that by the time I start running, it’s already too hot for my gloves. Sometimes I won’t take the gloves but I make sure I put handcream on as otherwise my hands get very dry and chapped, the same applies to my lips so I always make sure to use some chappy!

It’s the opposite in hot weather. When it gets so stuffy that you can hardly breathe you really need to think about when you should run. Obviously try to run before the heat or after it, without maximum exposure to sun. And please put on sunscreen. Sunburn, tan lines and melanoma is not attractive. Make sure you’re using a sports sunscreen that won’t sweat off. Maybe put a cap on too and if you start to feel faint on your run, stop. Take a breather and if you need to, just walk home. If it’s too hot for running, mix it up a bit. Go to the gym or stay at home and put the air con on while you do an indoor work out. 

“It’s raining, I’d better not go or I’ll slip over.”

Some people love running in the rain and some people hate it. I’m kind of in between. If it’s raining before I go on my run I’m always like “there’ll be puddles and I’ll break my ankles!” which really is because I am quite a klutz and have been known to trip over my own two feet. But when it rains during my run I LOVE it. I’m all hot and out of breath and when those droplets hit your face it is the single most refreshing thing. 

I tend to check the weather before I go on my run (not that it really helps to do that in Melbourne- four seasons in one day!). If there’s a possibility of light showers- still go for your run. If it will be thundering down then maybe do an indoor exercise instead.
If it’s raining and you really can’t stand it, do an indoor exercise for the equivalent amount of time you would have been running. 

“I’ll do it later on.”

Now this is a tough one. As I like to run in either the morning or afternoon, I often put my run off until afternoon. But then sometimes I don’t do it. At these times just think about whether you really have anything else to do that morning. This was my excuse today actually and it was 8:30, I was deciding when to go for my run and one part of me said “just do it this afternoon when it warms up a bit.” But then I realised I had nothing to really do this morning so why put it off? If I left at 9 I’d be back before 10 and could relax a bit afterwards without it weighing on me. And so I left and now I have the whole day for blogging, cleaning and relaxing. 

“I’m not up to doing 40 minutes today/“I don’t have enough time today.”

This is another one that gets me quite often. Forty minutes can seem like a long time but it really isn’t. The way I avoid this is by, well, lying to myself. I say “How about I just do 10 minutes and then turn around and come home... or, if I make it to a certain check point I’ll just take the short way home.” And then I’m out the door thinking about this. But then 10 minutes comes and I’m already too into my run. And then my check point comes up and I think, even if I walk the entire addition to my route it’s still better than just running home the short way. And so I continue running, even though I allowed myself to walk this way (yes, it’s in my head too).
When I hear myself say “I don’t have enough time today...” I often find myself then spending an hour in front of the TV or on the Internet... so of course there is always time. Remember, do you have half an hour a day to spend on yourself? If you really don’t think you have enough time, just shorten your run but increase the intensity. Maybe choose a hillier route, which brings me to my next point: 

“The route is too hilly.”

This really shows you what kind of person you are. Do you turn away from obstacles in your path or do you overcome them? I used to stop running when I reached a hill but now I do the opposite, before coming up to a hill I will take a little breather and walk for a bit and then I will power up that hill. It doesn’t matter how slow your run is up that hill, at least you’re doing it and really, it feels amazing when you get to the top. Running a hilly route works a lot more muscles than a flat one. 

“I don’t want to damage my joints.” 

When I started running, my knees were a bit knobbly and started clicking. I was worried I was damaging my joints. I’ve had a doctor look at them and they are fine but it was a real concern for a while. I started taking Glucosamine vitamins as they help to prevent damage to joints and this, together with running, has actually strengthened my knees. They hardly ever click now and haven’t given me any worries since.

If this is a concern for you I would talk to a doctor or health specialist and see what they say. Also, remember to wear appropriate shoes that will help protect your joints when you run. Then there’ll be no more of this excuse!

“I don't have good enough gear."

The only gear that really matters when running is your shoes. As long as you have the proper support for your feet and aren't running in Converse or Vans then other gear can wait. I have gym leggings that are synthetic which whisks away the sweat but I run in a cotton shirt. I could invest in some new gear for sure but I'm more concerned about replacing my runners at the moment- make sure you track how many kilometres your shoes have done. They say at around 500km it's time to get a new pair, even if the wear and tear isn't too bad.

And girls, a good sports bra is a must. It doesn't have to be expensive, it's just got to stop your boobies from bouncing too much, which can eventually lead to every girl's worst nightmare-saggy breasts. Even if you have an A cup, please wear a sports bra!

“People will look at my jiggly bits.”

Sometimes people stare. Sometimes they holler out of car windows. When I get honked at during my runs I like to tell myself that it’s a fellow runner, just supporting me. It helps me push even harder. When people holler at me with obscene comments I just ignore it. They know I’m not going to chase down their car and throw myself at them, they just do it to act big in front of their friends. Hell, I’ve even been in cars where some of my “friends” have done this, though I must say I haven’t done it myself. 

You might be worried about people calling you names about your weight. But if you keep running, I’ll bet if they drive past again in a couple months time they wouldn’t even recognise you and will instead be yelling “hottie!!!”. Use names as incentive, ignore them or yell back! Whatever you do just don’t let them get to you. You will never hear another runner calling you any kind of names. They know why you run, especially when your face is red and you're puffing along. They know it's not for attention. 

The biggest name that I get called which I think has no relation to me at all is “slut”. That one hurts. I run in leggings and a t-shirt, with my hair tied in a ponytail. I have my earphones on, blasting music and yet I still hear it sometimes. When I hear “slut” called out a window, directed at me it hurts... But then I realise that the person yelling it is probably really insecure about themselves and they are just projecting negative images onto other people as a way to make themselves feel better. And so I pick myself up, remind myself that I’m running because I love it and it’s something for me only, I don’t do it for the comments, whatever they may be. I do it because I love the wind in my face and the feeling of soaring over obstacles. I love the way it makes my body, and my mind, stronger. 

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