Get Running: You are ready for the massive reward

Don’t listen to the voices in your head – you are a runner. You don’t have to run fast; start at your own pace

 

Are you weary from all the January focus on diets, superfoods and weight loss? By now many of us are now so overwhelmed by food choices and weight that it is adding to the stress in our already busy lives. Eating well and in moderation is hugely important, but we cannot let ourselves become solely fixated on calories and kilos.

There is more to feeling healthy than just eating good food. Why not decide to measure your health on how you truly feel, rather than let success be dictated by a number on the scales. Approach your search for good mood, positivity, health and confidence in a different way. If you really want to become obsessed by a number, let’s start counting the number of minutes you can run for instead.

When I coach runners, I never mention weight. I don’t promise any quick fixes or inch losses. Weight is not the goal. The goal is to get out the door and enjoy running. Talk to any runner. They will tell you that nothing beats that post-run feeling; positivity, energy and a sense that you are invincible. The stress of the day is lifted and you feel strong, confident and alert. When you return home from a run you are more likely to eat better, sleep better and think better.

All these things add up to help you be more alert and mindful in your decision- making, and not idly scoff the rest of the packet of biscuits.

For the last two years, so many readers at home and abroad have made this decision to Get Running with our Irish Times Get Running programmes. They have nervously put on their running shoes and used their willpower and motivation to try something they never thought possible.

Following our simple videos, tips and weekly programmes they have stopped agonising over calories and weighing scales, and decided that there is more to feeling good than just cutting back.

There is something pretty special in doing something for the first time – especially when you always thought it was something beyond your reach. Let’s use running as the kickstart to good health and let the food follow. When we are feeling stronger, energised and positive, our lives suddenly feel so much better, even on a dark January evening. No one comes home from a run and feels like eating junk food.

Everyone is a runner once they start. Yes, there will always be faster people and those who appear to glide along effortlessly. But for the rest of us who are red faced and feel they are not a “real” runner yet, starting out now is the first step.

Many new runners feel a sense of embarrassment that they might be too old, too fat or too unfit to run. The trick is to try and not listen to these voices in your head. You are a runner. You don’t have to run fast; start very slowly at a pace that is just right for you even if you think you might be quicker walking.

I am here to guide you every step of the way. You choose the right plan for you from our three Get Running levels. Sign up online (irishtimes.com/getrunning) and each week we will send you on your homework for the week.

This will be three sessions of walk/run and some video tips to guide you on the right path. All you need to do is focus on the week that you are in. Gradually, the body starts to adapt and, believe it or not, most people actually enjoy it and wonder why they waited so long to start. As a beginner, there is a massive reward in running the longest run of your life every week. There are not many times as an adult we get to feel that sense of achievement.

Something new

Before starting any new exercise programme, chat to your doctor especially if you have any underlying medical conditions, aches or pains, or have not exercised for a while. If you have been following my advice for the last few weeks and are now walking 30 minutes painfree regularly then you are ready for the next step. Your adventure into the world of running awaits.

When did you last do something new which was just for you? You are not too old, too lazy, too shy or too unfit to start. If you need a helping hand, I’m here to guide you. Join the thousands of people who have already completed our programmes and you might just become one of our 2016 success stories.

Go on. Get Running.

Mary Jennings is founder and running coach with ForgetTheGym.ie. Mary trains beginners and marathoners and everyone in between to enjoy running and stay injury free.

Mary is also the creator of all our Irish Times Get Running programmes. Sign up at irishtimes.com/getrunning for any of these three courses:

  • PROGRAMME 1: The Beginners (5km) programme is an eight-week course that will take you from inactivity to being able to run 30 minutes non-stop.
  • PROGRAMME 2: Stay on Track is an eight-week course for those of you who can squeeze in a 30- to 40-minute run three times a week, but who need a kickstart to get going, and support when you run out of excuses.
  • PROGRAMME 3: 10km is an eight-week course designed for those who can comfortably run for 30 minutes and want to move up to the 10km mark.

And we want your feedback - send your running questions to Mary at fitness@irishtimes.com. Are you one of the thousands of people who completed a Get Running course in the past? Send us your story to fitness@irishtimes.com

Courses are delivered by The Irish Times in association with ForgetTheGym.