Beverley Hadgraft is no stranger to excuse busting. As a past running and triathlete coach, she understands the power of talk over training, particularly in your first few running sessions. That’s because she believes if you’re clear about your intent, there’s less room for excuses and quitting. If you’re struggling with your training, here are her top tips to bust training excuses.
Imagine yourself crossing the finish line and write down all the reasons you want to finish this race
Have you been busy helping everyone else achieve their goals and dreams, you’ve forgotten to do anything for yourself? Are you sick of feeling guilty every time you eat a delicious chocolate brownie? Perhaps you want your jeans to feel comfier or you think the cheering crowds at the Real Insurance Sydney Harbour 10K or 5k will be the incentive you need to spur you onto a personal best time?
It doesn’t matter what your reasons are so long as they’re important to you. Write them down, attach them to the fridge, and every time you’re tempted to have an unhealthy snack rather than a run, remind yourself of what you’re sabotaging.
Schedule runs in your diary
Have you ever installed an app that monitors how much time you’ve spent on social media? The hours can quickly add up, and it’s incredible how many can be wasted on cat videos. It’s easy to tell ourselves we can’t run because we don’t have time, but it’s not difficult to make time.
Keep yourself committed by using a diary to write down all the important things that need to be done, and the times at which you’re going to do them. If you schedule: “6 pm go for a run” and then a friend asks you to go for an after-work drink, it’s easier to say “no” because you’ve made a written commitment to yourself.
Summon your hidden energy reserves
You think you can’t summon up the energy for a run? What about if you were running for a plane to go on holiday? Ah, that sounds a little more enticing!
It’s easy to talk ourselves out of doing things because we’re too tired, but with a little imagination, we can talk ourselves into them as well.
Interestingly, researchers have found running upstairs for ten minutes provides a bigger energy boost in sleep deprived women than a strong cup of coffee, so tell yourself you’re just going to go for a ten-minute reviver.
If it’s raining and windy, remind yourself how exhilarating it would be to return red-cheeked and energised from the fun of jumping puddles. Think about how good you’ll feel if you do go for a run and how frosty you’ll feel if you don’t.
Find your waypower
Next time you find yourself complaining that you have no willpower; instead, think about your waypower.
Remember achievements you made you’re really proud of. What strengths and traits did you harness for these? Are you stubborn? Creative? Do you have good internet skills? You can use any of these to keep to a training schedule.
If you’re creative, look for ways to keep the run engaging – whether it be music, observing colours, identifying dog breeds, running laps of a shopping mall or heading into the bush for a trail run.
If you love Facebook, let your friends know your latest training plan, and give them an update when you achieve it so they can be your cheer squad. Alternatively, ask them for ideas on routes or new schedules.
Remind yourself this is an opportunity, not an obligation
All those other boring things you have to do in life – work, cooking, cleaning are essential chores. You’re choosing to run, and it’ll give you the opportunity to test your limits, zap stress, and escape the day-to-day demands and pressures of the rest of your life.
Make family time training time
If you ask any mum or dad what they want for their kids, they’ll most likely say “health and happiness.” Being a good role model and making sure you’re healthy and happy is the best way to ensure that happens. Get the kids to come with you on their bikes or push them in a pram if they’re too little to pedal. If you have to take the kids to their sporting activities, don’t just stand on the sidelines, go for a run yourself.
Work around injuries
There may be times you’re too injured to run or don’t want to aggravate a niggle, but don’t quit completely. Stay in shape, and once the niggle has healed, you may find you’re running better than ever. Swimming, cycling, resistance training or circuit training may all be possible options to keep you in shape while you stay off your running injury.
Set lots of little goals
When people don’t see fitness or speed results fast, they can be dismayed and give up. Even if you only run ten meters more than you did yesterday – that’s still an improvement.
Try adding little bursts of speed. Run home faster than you ran to your turning point. Keep a training diary and write down where and how far you ran, and the time; but also, what you achieved and how you felt. Review your progress once a month and make a note of all your achievements however small.
Don’t let fear be a factor
Statistics show many people never even attempt any sort of exercise regime for fear of looking foolish or physically inept. If you’ve had a medical check-up and you’ve got a sensible doctor who has given you the go-ahead, go ahead and run knowing most people will actually be full of admiration if you’re achieving your exercise goal despite being bit older or bigger than average.
Jump online and you’ll find plenty of brilliant role models who are bigger or older or struggling in some way too.
When it feels too hard to put your runners on and head out for your training session, turn to this list to find the inspiration you need to keep your goals and motivation alive.
Real Insurance is proud to sponsor the Sydney Harbour 10k and 5k race. Learn more here.