Important notice: Please make sure to observe social distancing of at least 2 metres/6ft between yourself and others when outside. By following this advice, we can all do our part to stay healthy and protect those who are more vulnerable at this time. Where it is safe, we encourage you to still get outside and stay active and continue to support other runners in any “virtual” way you can. Please stay aware though; protect yourselves and others and follow the advice given by the NHS and Public Health England.
We know that it’s not always easy for runners to find the time to fit a run into a busy day. But now, it’s more important than ever that you get out when you can – if you don’t make space for your daily activity, they’ll soon fall off the agenda.
It is proven that physical activity has a positive effect on your mental health. We are living in uncertain times so that one permitted daily activity is really, really important right now. Here are some tips to help you get the balance right.
SCHEDULE YOUR ACTIVITY
A study published in the British Journal of Social Psychology tracked a group of runners training for a marathon over a one-year period. They found that working out how, when and where you're going to do your training makes it more likely to happen. So, schedule your runs in your diary like you would any other appointment – and stick to it. It can be helpful to stick to regular days and times each week, so that you establish a routine everyone is aware of. Make it an appointment you don’t break.
Slick organisation and preparation can help you fit running into your life more easily. How? Having your kit laid out in the morning saves time when you get up. Prepping your lunch in advance ensures that if you’re planning to run at lunchtime, you’ll have some food ready to eat when you return. Plan your evening meal around a run – make sure you leave around two hours after eating before taking on any physical activity, and don’t go out too late where it might not be safe to do so.
DO IT FIRST THING
Research has shown that people who exercise in the morning are more likely to stick with an exercise programme than those who leave it until later in the day, who are more likely to put if off altogether. Running first thing also means your training is over and done with before the day's demands start to close in on you - and it leaves your evenings free. (But you'll need to get some early nights to avoid ending up exhausted.)
Contingency plans are a runner's best friend. OK, so you may not have time to do your planned session one day due to other commitments, but could you take the dog for an easy jog instead of walkies? Could you do some strength exercises at home, or play with the kids in the garden or yard? The idea is not to have an ‘all or nothing' approach. Just because you can't do exactly what you set out to do, it doesn't mean there's no point in doing anything at all.
Try to keep your running in perspective. Don't drop everything - and everyone - else over the coming weeks and months. This is a weird time for everyone, and we’re all trying to figure out the new normal. And accept from the outset that sometimes, family or work commitments will need to take priority over your training. Running should enhance your life, not take it over.