It’s summer, finally. Sort of. Most of us are back at work now, full of food, good intentions and a few too many celebratory wines or beers. This time of year is one of New Year’s Resolutions, which often come with new gym memberships. It’s also the perfect time of year to build new habits and make the most of the beautiful country we live in. Whether you’re city based, in the country or near the ocean, strapping on a pair of running shoes and getting outside is not only a great way to get fit and smash your resolutions, it allows you to see your neighbourhood from a new perspective. Not to mention the wonders that fresh air does for your mind. You can’t get that sweating away in some over air-conditioned gym filled with other New Year’s Resolution makers!
Some tips for running in your area:
1. Get to know your area. Get onto old Google Maps and find your nearest park, put your shoes on and get out there to familiarise yourself with it. Some parks have trails, fitness equipment, hills and great grassy areas where you can do core strength exercises, sprints, run drills. Or just get to know some of the streets in your neighbourhood.
2. Close proximity is key. This can help with motivation and ease of access. Being able to head straight out from the office can help prevent that dip in motivation that occurs when we walk in the door after a long day to spy the couch and the TV remote. It will also help you process everything that happened at work so that you can come home and be more present with your family and friends.
3. Know what works for you. Maybe you run best on your own. Maybe you need a buddy to help keep you motivated. Maybe you need a run group to learn from. There are lots of different types of running groups out the re – big, small, boot camp, technique focused and many more. Get in touch with the coach or organiser and ask for a complimentary trial session. This way you can see if it’s for you or not. And if it isn’t – find another group!
4. Variety is the spice of life: Make sure you try a few different running routes in your area. This is really important to keep your motivation levels up. Running the same route every time can become boring, the brain switches off and injury can creep in. Try running the same route in the opposite direction even. It is amazing what you see from a different angle sometimes.
5. Have a goal. It doesn’t have to be to run up Everest or to run a marathon. Although there’s nothing wrong with those goals, it does help if you can break them down into smaller, more manageable steps. Want to complete a full marathon? Maybe book in a half marathon first. Or even a 5k or 10k race. Make an action plan for the year, that’s realistic for you to stick to, and you’ll be running down that finishing chute in no time.
Summer is definitely the perfect time to build up those good habits for when winter creeps in and can start eating away at your motivation. Go on, get outside, enjoy your local area and get fit!