I ended up running in the rain yesterday. I can’t quite decide if this was a positive or negative experience. I know it was inevitable, it’s raining all the time. I made it through my route, with a consistent (dry) pace.
Note: This is probably me being optimistic – the ground is so wet, even “dry” runs are really wet ones at the moment. The only difference being that in the rain, you get wet from the waist up as well as waist down.
I spent most of my time thinking of 7 more ways to keep running when you hate it, so maybe that answers the negative/positive question! Here is the first instalment of 7 ways to keep running if you want to check that out as well.
As promised, here they are…
1. Exceed your target(s)
I don’t know about you, but there are certain spots on my regular running circuit where I am more likely to stop and walk. I don’t even think I do this because I’m tired or can’t run, I think it’s a boredom thing.
So, similar to my “always run up hill” rule, I don’t allow myself to stop until I have passed these bits in the route. For me, this means I end up not stopping at all. I either get distracted or by the time I’ve completed that section, I am into a bit that I like. Or I hit a hill – and you can’t stop on a hill.
Yes, I know I’m playing tricks on myself – but isn’t that half of what running is about? Overcoming your limitations however you can?
2. Run in the rain
Your hair can (and should!) be washed after you run. Your clothes can go in the machine and your trainers will dry. Most importantly, your skin is waterproof. Basically, you’ll be pretty gross and ready for a shower by the time you finish your run, whatever the weather. So why not run in the rain?
If 50% of people who see you run in the rain think you’re crazy, the other 50% think you’re hardcore. Who cares anyway – those people aren’t running, they’re probably all jealous of your drive, determination and commitment.
Don’t be a baby – go and run in the rain.
3. Don’t get too hot
This might make me sound really stupid. It took me a while to realise that if I get too hot, and I have the chance to cool down, it’s the equivalent of a running espresso or something.
Being hot makes me lethargic. My legs feel heavy and it makes me want to stop. If I have layered up successfully (more on this in a minute), and can simply shed a layer – it’s like a turbo boost for me.
4. Layer up successfully
I am a person that gets cold easily. My hands are a rather fetching corned beef colour for at least 7 months of the year. So I tend to get this one wrong, a lot. What I mean by wrong, is that I layer up in the wrong order.
I absolutely must be able to get warm to start. If I don’t, things hurt and I’ll injure myself.
I use something amazing on my knees as a cheat to get a head start on this warmth. It’s called Nature’s Kiss – Hot Stuff. It has an absolutely delicious cinnamon smell and it feels warm on your skin. BEWARE! When you take a shower or bath afterwards, the hotter the water, the hotter whatever bits of your skin you have this stuff on will become. I say this because you don’t realise where you manage to smear the stuff in the process of your initial application! I’m not being inappropriate here, I mean places like your face or arms or whatever…
Anyway, I often make the mistake of putting a base layer, then vest, then jumper or jacket on. If it’s cold, this is fine, I only need to remove one layer. But if it’s warmer, my three layers are really only two – removing the vest would make little or no difference, and then where do I put the vest?
So the point here, is that I need to think about taking them off when I layer up, not just keeping warm in the beginning. Probably obvious to the rest of the world, but not me.
5. Get the horrible stuff out of your mouth
The human body is disgusting. So are little creatures’ bodies. Whether it’s that nasty sticky saliva, a bunch of flies or something even worse than that, get it out of your mouth.
I’m not condoning public displays of disgusting behaviour – please, be as discreet as possible – but still, get it out of your mouth.
Please also feel free to deny doing this to friends, family and anyone else who asks. It’s gross, but it’s horrible to run with that sh…stuff in your mouth.
6. Choose your track
This is so subjective. I don’t understand how I can need to run along different tracks/terrains on the same route in seemingly identical conditions.
The fact is, some days I simply run better on gravel than I do on grass. Sometimes mud is even better that grass. I’m lucky, I get some choices. Maybe you don’t. But if you have the choice, try different bits of your available track – it makes a difference. Whether this is one of those distraction tricks that I use on myself or an actual real thing, I’m not sure. I don’t really give myself the time to analyse it or properly record results and trends, but I know that it works for me, switching it up, trying different bits of the course, is all good for me.
7. Do a sprint finish
Another cheat for me. I get to finish on a downhill. Of course, I have to start on an uphill, but we’ve all forgotten about the start by the time we get to the end, right?
My downhill finish means I get to spring down the track, pretending to be fresh as a daisy and feeling like I’m the fastest thing on the planet. I haven’t always done this. I used to be so relieved to make it, that I’d actually slow down at the end. WHAT?? That’s crazy. Finishing on a sprint finish gives you all sorts of things.
It can make quite a big difference to your pace. This may not be important to you, but it’s how I measure my progress. So losing all of the hard work I’ve put in on the main route to throw it away on a lazy finish is really pretty stupid.
It makes me feel better. I am always happier when I feel like I have actually done my best. Not for anyone else, just for me. If I’m going to run, which I hate, then I may as well get as much out of it as possible. What’s the point in doing something you hate if you aren’t going to make it work for you as much as possible? Get your credits where you can. Finishing on a high means I am much more likely to want to get out there and run again.
So there you have it, 7 more ways to keep going through your runs. I have a feeling this might be an ongoing list. And on one of those lists will be “try thinking of seven more things to keep you running”, because that sure does get me through my run…!
Oh, and I’ll tell you a secret: I might not hate running anymore. Now that it doesn’t hurt and I’ve found different motivations and actually made progress, I don’t mind it as much. I’ve also decided that long distance isn’t my thing. I don’t believe that every runner should aspire to a marathon. It’s perfectly legitimate to run ten miles across a week rather than killing yourself doing it in one go. It’s still running. Do your running the way you want to do it.