Don’t let summer run away on you: Eight tips for runners this August

Regardless of how your recent training has gone, there’s still time to catch up

When you think of summer running, where do you picture yourself? Is there any particular route that you would love to revisit and run again? Photograph: iStock

When you think of summer running, where do you picture yourself? Is there any particular route that you would love to revisit and run again? Photograph: iStock

 
This summer, The Irish Times will offer tips, advice and information for parents on how to help their children thrive during the holiday months. Read all about it at  irishtimes.com/summeroffamily

I spotted the first ripe blackberries on my run this weekend. As tasty as they are, these juicy fruits signal a new running season for me. They remind me to embrace these last few running weeks of August before the world of routine returns. I’m doing what I can to prolong the summer – no matter what the weather may bring.

How has your summer worked out? Maybe you ticked all the boxes and achieved your dreams but, alternatively, perhaps the summer got away from you. Regardless of how you are feeling about your summer of running, it’s not over yet and we have time to create a few more summer running memories. They don’t all need to all be lung-busting hard work either. Remember our running needs to be enjoyable if we are going to keep it up. If you are struggling for motivation without a routine, here are eight things you can try over the next few weeks.

1. Use the evenings

You don’t have to save all adventures for the weekends. While we still have daylight why not plan an evening run in an area you only normally save for weekends? Take to the beach, the park or any scenic spot near you. These venues will be out of bounds in darker evenings, so make the time now. With busy summer weekends, taking time for yourself midweek might be easier to schedule. It will be quieter on the paths and you might even catch a lovely sunset.

2. Set the morning alarm

I know lie-ins are precious these days, but nothing beats a prebreakfast run! The hardest bit is turning off the alarm and getting up. Get your gear organised the night before and you won’t regret it. Being up and out before the crowds offers a smugness and satisfaction as well as that wonderful energy morning exercise brings. It sets you up for your day ahead, clears your head and, most importantly, means you don’t spend all day thinking about when you will fit in a run.

3. Look at the hedges

Taking the focus off the clock and enjoying a run where your only intention is to notice what is growing on the roadsides is a great way to watch the seasons change. Your running pace doesn’t matter. You notice what’s around you, the beauty of nature and how your running route changes with every run, even though you are on the same path each time. If you are lucky you might even catch a few ripe blackberries for a midrun energy boost this month.

4. Revisit old times

When you think of summer running, where do you picture yourself? Is there any particular route that you would love to revisit and run again with new eyes and older legs? Think about a running route that makes you smile and reminds you of feeling fresh, light and summery. Maybe it is even a race route from summers past? You might have a favourite parkrun route that you have been missing since they were put on hold. Make a plan to go there again and reignite those running memories.

5. Wear the gear

Do you have a pile of summer running shorts and tops that you had great intentions of wearing, but ended up wearing your usual few favourite items? Decide for these next few weeks you will wear that stuff in the back of the wardrobe or donate it to someone else who will. I think we all have those outfits we think we will wear again, but will we really? If you won’t wear it now, you are less likely next year. So do a summer declutter and discover what you love running in and say goodbye to the rest.

6. Make a date

Who do you love running with who you haven’t seen in ages? Drop them a message and arrange a meet-up. Pick a route that allows you to run alongside each other and chat about old times and create plans for the future. Encourage each other along; run for fun rather than competition and you will finish feeling motivated to keep on running together. Before you leave, put another date in the diary to keep you both accountable.

7. Be a tourist

Remember that all runs don’t need to be non-stop running. Some of the best runs include stops and walks along the way. There are many beautiful tourist routes that you could run a little, walk sections and enjoy a photo break or even a cuppa along the route. Pick a route that you haven’t travelled in a while and bring family or friends. Wear your running gear, be adaptable and run what you can but enjoy the walking sections just as much.

8. Support a Marathoner

Those training for an autumn marathon will be hitting the peak of their marathon training over the coming weeks. Do you know anyone training for the distance? Why not volunteer to run the last few kilometres of their weekend training session with them? You can do the talking and keep them motivated. It will certainly help their miles go faster and they will appreciate the distraction. Bonus points if you bring along a postrun picnic for them too.

Decide what is important

There are still three full weeks of August remaining. They will disappear as quick as the last three weeks unless we decide to plan ahead and put some dates in the diary. If there was just one run you could do between now and September, what would it be? Who would it be with and where would you run? How would it make you feel? Start with that one. Plan it, make it possible, enjoy it, feel successful and that will inspire you plan the next one. It all starts with one step and one date in the August diary. Don’t let the rest of this summer run away on you.

– Mary Jennings is founder and running coach with ForgetTheGym.ie. Her autumn running programmes will start on September 6th both in Dublin and virtually.

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