Time to Get Running in steps to suit everybody
Worn out after December? The ‘Irish Times’ eight-week programmes can get you on a journey to better fitness
Remember: you will never have the time to go for a run. You have to prioritise it if you want to feel the benefits. You have to make the decision that going for that run is more important than ticking something else off your to-do list. Photograph: Getty Images
January is the month in which we are all supposed to feel motivated and inspired to be fabulous, energetic and healthy. However, you may still be searching for your fitness mojo or the running shoes you hid in the wardrobe last autumn as the evenings got darker.
Tired and worn out after a crazy December, it’s no wonder many of us are still spending our evenings sitting on the couch watching boxsets and eating the leftover Christmas biscuits. With no daylight in the evenings and no pay day for another few weeks, the January blues hit many people.
It really is up to you to make the decision to get up off the couch. No one else can force you out the door. You can decide to continue to make excuses and avoid getting moving for another few weeks, but we know it will be even harder, both physically and mentally, the longer you delay.
It is so easy to hibernate during these dark days but if you start moving now, however slowly, when the spring arrives you will feel so much stronger, fitter, confident and positive. Fresh air and getting moving will help you want to eat better, make you sleep better and make you generally feel better.
It’s two years since we launched our first Get Running programme – taking beginners from walking and building them up gradually to running 30 minutes in just eight weeks.
Since then more than 15,000 of you have signed up and caught the running bug. We are thrilled to have met and received emails from so many of you who started our original programme and since have gone on to keep up running and achieve goals never imagined possible a few short years ago.
Taking up running has given them a different perspective and now has become an integral part of their lives. For anyone who is not a runner, it’s hard to imagine how running can have such an impact on your life beyond general fitness.
One of the truly remarkable benefits is the increase in confidence and self-belief that comes from realising that when you put your mind to anything and stick to a plan, you can achieve so much more than you ever thought possible. You can truly surprise yourself. For many, running is just the kickstart in taking responsibility for the direction of our lives.
If you are the type of person who really wants to feel better and get running but doesn’t have the confidence, the time or the knowledge of how to get started, you are not alone. We will make it easy for you.
We will be relaunching the Beginners’ Get Running programme this month. If you are keen to join us and become a runner, get a headstart by walking briskly for 30 minutes three times this week. That will be the starting point for our Get Running programme.
If you are not confident yet at 30 minutes’ brisk walk, take your time in January to build up your walking minutes gradually and build your fitness slowly. Then you will be able to join the beginners’ running programme later in the spring.
For those of you who know all the perks of running but have become a lapsed runner over the winter, I’m sure you now feel those pangs of envy and guilt when you see another runner passing you by. Stop feeling jealous and dust off your running shoes. January is the perfect month to get moving again. Our Get Running – Stay on Track plan will help you get back in the running zone.
In each of the running programmes I will guide you step by step with videos, tips and training plans delivered to your inbox every week.
All you have to do is three walking or running sessions each week and you will gradually and simply build your confidence, fitness and mental strength.
Remember, the first run after a while is always tough. The trick is not to overdo it. Just get out the door and do something. The fresh air alone will make you feel better and more productive than if you stayed in and watched another boxset.
Remember also that you will never have the time to go for a run. You have to prioritise it if you want to feel the benefits. You have to make the decision that going for that run is more important than ticking something else off your to-do list. It’s up to you to decide how important your mood, health and wellbeing is for you, your family and your new year.
One thing is sure: once you get the running bug you will wonder how you lived without it.
Mary Jennings is founder and running coach with ForgetTheGym.ie. She trains beginners and marathoners and everyone in between to enjoy running and stay injury free. She is also the creator of all our Irish Times Get Running programmes.
Irish Times Get Running programmes
Programme 1: The Beginners 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.
Sign up at irishtimes.com/ getrunning for any one of the courses. And if this all seems a bit much for the first week of January, just get started by walking. Dig out your
running shoes, root out the high-viz and kickstart your routine by walking for 30 minutes this week.
Course are delivered by The Irish Times in association with ForgetTheGym.