Why is it difficult to get out of the door and run? Some thoughts and my solutions I discovered under Lockdown

Helen Lane

I’ve run almost my whole life and always found it difficult to make that first step out the door and run. However over the last 2 years I’ve changed and found ways that help me step out the door and run by using routines, making challenges and rewarding myself.

Until the last couple of years I had no running routine at all, except running at parkruns on Saturday’s. Looking back most of the time I rarely initiated a run, I wasn’t particularly self motivated and became accustom to running when my husband ran. It took the decision away from me needing to decide to do a run which I liked. In fact, most of my training runs were done on the treadmill when my husband and I went to the gym and if I ran outside, then it was mostly with my husband and he designed a session that fitted in with both our levels. I loved doing that way.

Andy Lane & I running together

Routine and Goal Setting

Of course I did enter races and I can remember doing a few long run by myself when I was training for a marathon. I didn’t run if it was a little cold, hot, rain or windy I (except of course if it was a parkrun or race). I wouldn’t and still don’t run in the dark, so I certainly didn’t have a routine. But of course you can’t always rely on someone else to motive you. Eventually, my husband got injured and I needed to motivate myself. I seem now to love running more than ever before.

I stared to understand the importance of having a routine and challenging yourself early in Lockdown. I was reading an article by Tim Peake the astronaut about how important routine and goals were to help cope with isolation in space. I thought to myself, “I have no routine at all, no set time to wake up, no set time to eat, to vacuum, to make the bed, to do dishes, to exercise, not one thing!” In fact I hate cleaning and used to just wait until I couldn’t stand the mess any more and have to tidy up.

I also noticed in Lockdown many people were doing Challenges that inspired me e.g. Joe Wicks workouts, Captain Toms walking. I decided to start some of my own tiny challenges that were super achievable and based around routine, some have now formed into habits that I do on most days.

For my running challenge I decided I’d run everyday for a month before breakfast. My rule was “The run didn’t have to be far or fast and but I have to get out that door and run.” The run made me feel good and succeeding at achieving my goal made me feel even better. The running challenge was hard for me for the first 3 weeks. I struggled to get out the door but after about 5 weeks it was better. It definitely was difficult for longer than I expected. I ended up meeting a runner in my local Park who had been doing a Run Streak for almost a year. I thought that’s amazing, I wonder how long I could do it. I started my own running streak. I even brought a Cake to celebrate every 100 days. The Run Streak lasted 261 days which ended when I got injured 5 weeks before I ran the BostonUK Marathon, but everything worked out well. I rested for the 5 weeks from running and completed the marathon with a Personal Best, I learnt so many things from the Run Streak especially the last one…… “DON’T OVERTRAIN BECAUSE YOU MAY GET INJURED!”

As the Run Streak continued, I could feel myself becoming more empowered and confident and I loved the new identity I had. I was a ‘RUN STREAKER’. I was amazed at how happy I became just from something so small. It was something in my life that was good and made me happy whenever I thought about it. At that time it seems everyone and everything was so negative and running, exercising and challenges and succeeding at these things was a my coat of armor which protected me from negative things and it gave me control and a sense of accomplishment. I became fitter and even did the Virtual New York City Marathon and the Virtual Virgin London Marathon. I also enjoyed running outdoors and I felt I and no one else owned and controlled my running. I didn’t feel pressured to run fast, I remember when I was younger that I had to run as fast as I could because I wanted my parents to be proud of me. The feeling that I HAVE TO RUN FAST, seemed to have stayed with me as a adult.

I stopped worrying about the way I looked. I did exactly what I liked. I would listen to different podcast to make it more fun.

One of my favorite Podcast
….and another one of my favorite Podcast
….and another one of my favorite Podcasts

I’d vary sessions, sometimes I would do sprints at my favorite bit of my park, I created segments on Strava. I found more and more ways to make my run special. I saved the really good podcast for my long runs. I started to run in all weathers. In the past I never ran if the weather wasn’t good but I learned that the reason why I got too cold, too hot or too wet was that I didn’t dress appropriately for the weather. I learnt I didn’t have to feel too hot, too cold or even too wet. If I thought I might be cold I put on an extra layer and if I got too hot I slowed down. I invested in a new rain jacket so I didn’t get wet. I decided to when to run, the weather didn’t decide for me which was how it was previously. It felt like I had never been in control of my running until now.

More Rewards

I also start rewarding myself after every run. Most days I used to finish the run at either a bakery or supermarket buy a treat like a cake or just a cappuccino and walked home. Sometime when I really didn’t want to go running I just thought I’d run just to the Supermarket and that’s all, but after 10 minute of running I always felt good and continued running. I made it a habit to give lots of positive self-talk, saying things to myself “the first 10 minutes are the hardest, so you are doing well, you’re tough, you deserve a cake, you are looking good” I treated myself like I was the most important person on earth. On some days the thought of getting an ice cream was they only thing that could get me out. I also Posted my run on Twitter, this was not done to show off but for me, it was confirmation that I had done a run and it was nice that some people said well done. I didn’t mind if people saw it as silly as I was doing the run for myself not anyone else and I found it really did motivate me.

I started making other challenges, one was to do 10 press ups every hour between 9am and 5pm, ok sometimes I had to stop for a minute while out walking and do 10 press ups when everyone wasn’t looking, but I ticked off every hour that I did it and each time I felt good as I was ticking it off, I felt I’d achieved something and felt good, so that was 8 times a day that made me feel good. At the start I could only do about 3 full press up’s before the challenge and now I can do about 25 good full press ups each time.

This developed in to other things, e.g., 10 1 legged squats, 20 sit ups, one minute Planks. For the first time in my life I started to do strengthening exercises. I’ve been saying for over 20 years “I must do some strengthening exercise like sit ups,” but never do. People used to say to me all the time that my running would improve if I strengthened you core. Now I really do have a six pack and of course there were other bonuses, I lost about 10kg in weight over two years and my percentage of muscle mass has increased.

Of course doing something like sit up’s or press up’s every hour is not achievable long term so I decided I’d do them when I get up before I went for a run, so it turned into a mini workout…but then I discovered the world of YouTube workouts. I obviously must have lived in a hole most of my life because the world of YouTube was a revelation to me…you can really find something on everything nowadays. I started to do a YouTube workout every morning. My favorite is Carolina Given. I brought dumbbells, yoga blocks and resistance band and loved it. I was always far too self conscious and unfit to do exercise classes at the gym but now the gyms have opened again I have been to HIIT Classes and I am as good as anyone else. I changed the challenges all the time. I managed to stretch everyday for two weeks and now I do some stretching almost everyday. For over 20 year I used to also say “I should do more stretching, “ but never did.

My favorite YouTube Workout: Caroline Given

I then started looking for more and more challenges or new routines some lasted a little while and some I have kept, other challenges I did did were ‘ten chin ups by my birthday’, ‘vacuum every day between 3-5pm every day even when it’s not dirty (I brought a lovely cordless light vacuum cleaner so I now love Vacuuming), ‘do some Indoor Rowing everyday, again, it doesn’t have to far or fast’. I have a note book with all the things I need to do and the act of ticking them of after I have completed them gives me a boost. For a few days, I thought “I need to drink more, so every time I come into the kitchen I will have a bottle of water sitting there and take 3 gulps and put 1 tick/tally on the notepad beside the bottle”. It was all a bit of fun.

Indoor Rowing & Exercise Area, you can watch Netflix, YouTube etc, while you exercise

My mindset slowly changed for me in lockdown. I know myself very well, if I don’t run or exercise I start feeling down and a bit depressed and that if I do run or do some exercise. It was a difficult time, The more difficult the times the more I knew I needed to run or exercise. Running and exercise is my coping mechanism for life and I absolutely love it. I think I should also add that my improvement in my well being may also be due also to slowly coming off medication that I’d been on for over 30 years. There is an amazing difference, the world through my eyes seem like it was now in colour and I’m no long lethargic, I don’t need to sleep as much, I wake up early and I just wanted to get up and do stuff.

For me, I use routines and challenges and now look forward to positive things. We can’t sit passively and think “life’s shit” and talk all day about how unfair life is, and wait for someone else to fix it or you can take control and improve it yourself.

Running the BostonUK Marathon 31 May 2021 – the flattest marathon in the UK.

I couldn’t believe I actually completed this marathon and got a PB of 3 hours 54 minutes, enough to get ‘Good for Age’ in the Virgin London Marathon for 2022.

This marathon was very important to me because I’m 57 years old and if I didn’t manage to complete it then, it could of been I would never get another opportunity as I always seem to pick up running injuries when I train for longer runs. I’ve run all my life but I love running more now than ever.

It would come up 0.05 short on Strava!

I had got into a good routine over lockdown and had decided to do a Run Streak for a month I got hooked and carried on my Run Streak which eventually lasted 261 days. I had a cake when I’d done 200 days. It stopped because I picked up an injury 5 weeks before this marathon. Doing a Run Streak made running easier for me as it was not a question of “shall I go for a run, or shall I leave it for today?” It was “I’m a run streaker, of course I run today,” I only need to do 2-3km slowly”. It became like having a shower, something I just did everyday.

Boston

I was finding things tough in the last couple of years and running is the one thing that improves my mood, so its my coping mechanism for when times are hard.

Before Lockdown I always struggled to go running outside, I didn’t go if it was wet, windy, too cold, too hot unless it was a race or a parkrun. Previously, I did most of my running on the treadmill at my gym.I never did strength training and for years always would say “I should start doing sit ups, press ups etc.”, but never ended up doing them. I couldn’t even do one full press up! But, under lockdown when the gyms closed I started doing YouTube workouts and Indoor Rowing everyday. I finally had a stronger core and should have done it years ago. I also lost a lot of weight so that made running easier.

Ready in a bed that could sleep about 5 people but there was only me.

Anyway, I was so excited coming to Boston, I had been very stressed at home and didn’t have very high self-esteem so I needed something to make me feel good about myself and feel accomplished. This was also one of the few times I had come to a running event on my own. Over the years I had come to rely on my husband but this time I would do the marathon by myself.

I was a little bit anxious at the start only because I hadn’t really run properly for the past 5 weeks but I was fit and I had done all my long runs. I was just hoping my injury wouldn’t stop me. In the end, my leg hurt more and more the further I when but I was able to finish it although I was running very slowly for the last 6-8 miles but really those miles signs seem to just fly by. I’m a little bit injured again because I ran it but I’m taking care to rest a bit from running.

View while running….very flat!

Book Review: Run Through Barriers by Clint Adam Lovell

This is a book that will inspire you to run and it’s such easy reading. Any runner or even someone who is thinking of giving running a try would enjoy reading it. I know I need all the inspiration on offer because running isn’t alway easy for me. I’ve been running for years, BUT even though running makes me feel good, gives me a sense of achievement, keeps my body strong and lean enough to eat cake and ice cream without any guilt I still really, really have a battle with myself to get out the door for EVERY RUN, not just some runs. I don’t ever really feel like going for a run, but based on thousands of previous experiences I know it will be fine, I just have to get through the initial 5 minutes of discomfort. That is how it is for me and it probably will always be like that, but after every run I feel I have achieve something no matter how far or fast I’ve run. I loved reading about inspiring people in this book, they are people who have obstacles like all of us and have overcome them.

The first part of book will fill you with inspiration to get started and continue running. It is full of inspirational stories from people who overcome their own barriers to run and who are achieving some amazing challenges. Among them are Ais North who despite being in her 70’s hasn’t let Heart Attack’s or Cancer get in the way of doing Ultra marathons; Eileen Noble one of Britain’s oldest marathon runners, who took up running at the age of 50; Roger Wright who has battled obesity and run over 66 marathons in 11 years. The book shows that most barriers can be overcome, by exploring simple methods to challenge, remove and replace common barriers with positive actions and make running a sustainable part of everyone’s everyday lives.

The second part of the book gives you the knowledge to continue running and achieve your goals. It focuses on training the body, ad includes running plans that will take you from a beginner to achieving your goals to a 5, 10, half and further. The book sets out 7 rules or guidelines which help create a lasting running training program so you place into a routine which will fit into your lifestyle with a flexible structure that can move and adapt. I’ve integrated all these rules/guidelines into my training and they have helped me maintain a run streak. I’ve run 240+days plus at the moment and I’m still going. I have never found it easier to enjoy running than at the moment.

I brought the Kindle version of the book which cost less than a coffee and cake. Well worth it.

Clint Adam Lovell: Author of Run Through Barriers

Good parkrun blogs.

Good parkrun reviewers. I’ve taken this list of really good blogs off ‘The parkrun journey’ Facebook site.

Robert Skedgell the moderator wrote:

“There are quite a few excellent blogs by parkrun tourists. As there are so many that it’s hard to keep track of them, I’ll keep a list in this post. Where the author is a member of this group, I’ll tag them next to the entry.”

I’ll try to update this site as well.

parkruns by Steve Stockwell

http://www.blog7t.com/

Get Down, Shep! by Ali Sheppard

https://getdownshep.com/

Monday running by Gail Seal

https://mondayrunning.com/

Paul-Jeffrey.com by Paul Jeffrey

http://paul-jeffrey.com/

parkrun reviews by Chis Jeanes

https://crajeanes.wixsite.com/parkrun/home

Running to stand still by Toria Richards

https://mrsbridgewater.blogspot.com/

Running Scared by Lucy Marris.

https://runningscaredsite.wordpress.com/

The buggy runners diary by Jessica Sanderson

https://www.facebook.com/thebuggyrunnersdiary/

allscottishparkruns (allba) by Scott MacMichael

https://allscottishparkruns.wordpress.com/

Parkrun Poet by Tim Gardiner https://twitter.com/parkrunpoetry

@parkrunpoetry

November: How can a Sport Psychologist help you perform better? An insight into what they do.

See Website in Menu winninglane.com

Psychological and Physiological assessments can help you perform better

1 Get an accurate assessment of performance at baseline.

2 Learn how to use psychological skills.

3 Re-test whether you have improved.

4 Reflect on whether the intervention worked or not? Was it your beliefs that made it work?

N.B: If any of the Peak Performance links don’t you there directly, then type Lane in the search box.

Read More

Using sport psychology to perform faster?

What mindset do I need if I want to go faster? Should I just work harder in training? How do I train smarter? More from Andy Lane… Read More

Keep finding a winning edge

Examining psychological states associated with ageing and offers practical suggestions on how to keep achieving… Read More

How can I perform consistently well under pressure?

Explaining strategies to perform consistently under pressure… Read More

Sports equipment: how music and video can improve performance?

Athletes value technology and coaches can build upon this by demonstrating how it can be used effectively to enhance performance… Read More

Cycling training: how to approach multi stage cycling events

The physiological and psychological demands of riding in a cycling tour… Read More

Game, set, and match – developing resilient self-confidence in tennis

Mental qualities needed to be an elite tennis player, and offers practical suggestions on how tennis players can improve their mental game… Read More

Sports Psychology – Eating behaviours: New Ways to Develop and Assess an Athlete’s Diet

Endurance Training and Mental Toughness for Long Distance Swimming.

Systematic endurance training strategies are presented to help long-distance and open-water swimmers to develop physical and mental toughness, set goals and manage their emotions… Read More

http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zwr2mnb

Next month there will be a piece on how a Sports Psychologist helped a women run her first marathon using weekly Skype Sessions.

Saturday 18th August: Free Talk by Susan Partridge and Rebecca Robinson

This was the second talk in a series of free talks, organised by Professor Andy Lane and Dan Robinson.

The day started with a get together of some runners at the Walsall Arboretum parkrun.

Photo: Susan Partridge, Rebecca Robinson, Dan Robinson (no relationship to Rebecca), Andy Lane.

This was followed by a drill session on the running track at the University of Wolverhampton (Walsall Campus). The drills focus on improving running technique and were led by Mark Nietz, a Strength and Conditioning Expert for the English Institute of Sport.

Dr Rebecca Robinson

The first speaker was Rebecca Robinson, an International Mountain Runner and Road Runner. Her dedication and strong mental aptitude propelled her to 5th fastest on the British Ranking list last year. She has a P.B. Marathon time of 2.36 and a 5km P.B., of 15.48.

If being a runner at this level isn’t enough, Rebecca works as a Physician at the Centre Health and Human Performance in Harley Street, London, specialising in Sport & Exercise Medicine. Rebecca is also Clinical researcher in physical activity at Sheffield Teaching Hospital and a Consultant in SEM in Musculoskeletal medicine at Moor and Ilcley Medical Practice.

The list doesn’t end there, Rebecca is also a consultant for the English Institute of Sport with the GB Boxing Team & British Athletics.

Today her talk was focused on her applied practitioner experience with runners athletes with Relative Energy Deficiency, due to dieting or the pressure of keeping at a very low body weight.

Rebecca explained that more awareness and education is needed both for the athlete and the coach to prevent underperforming due to extremely low calorie diets and dysfunctional eating. Training on a low calorie diets prevents the growth of muscles, she explained. It was a fascinating talk and its became clear that there are so many sides to Rebecca as she has so much running experiences.

Susan Partridge

Susan Partridge is a middle distance and long distance runner who has represented Great Britain at the World Athletic Championships and the European Athletic Championships. She also represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Games. Susan has a 2.30 marathon PB, and she has won the Reading & Cardiff Half Marathon and The Great Birmingham Run Twice.

Susan shared her experiences of running from when she was young to becoming an elite runner. There was some very interesting experiences and she explained how she kept a balance between running and the rest of her life.

After they both spoke there was plenty of time to ask questions to both Susan and Rebecca. It was lovely, to hear and see two such down to earth, modest and interesting people. They both downplayed their abilities and performance.

There will be more free talks to come so keep following Twitter @RunHelenLane @andylane27 or Facebook to see when the next one is.

Monday 23rd July: Talk and Q & A by Dr Martin Yelling

This was the first of a series of free talks that are taking place at the University of Wolverhampton. Walsall Campus. Organised by Professor Andy Lane and Dan Robinson.

Dr Martin Yelling has won the Elite British Duathlon twice, completed the Hawaii Ironman, the Comrades Ultra and ran 260 miles of the South East Coast Path.

This only scratches the surfaces of Martin’s running achievements. n

Martin is one of the Official Experts at the Virgin Money London Marathon. He gives advice on training for the marathon on a series of live Q & A’s on the internet.

Martin is the Co-Founder of Marathontalk podcast and Marathontalk Runcamp alongside Tom Williams.

Martin has his own coaching business with his wife Liz Yelling who was a 2 x Olympic GB Marathon Runner and a Commonwealth Medalist. Yelling performance.com

Martin organise a number of running experiences including one in Austria.

Along with juggling his business, family and running, Martin still works as an academic. He has produced a number of Sport Science articles and works with PhD students.

The talk was fascinating, not what I expected. Martin explored the emotions of running. Highlighting, why do we Run? How does our family and friends fit into a running life? You didn’t have to be fast to enjoy the talk. Martin explained that he started running when he was very young at school. He said that he didn’t think too much into why, however he knew it felt good, especially afterward he went for a run. Martin said for him it was not just the winning. Running made him feel like he could do almost anything.

The talk focus a little on strategies to control emotions, e.g., when nervous or anxious think about your previous success, sets many goals not just one so you can stay positive and not put too much pressure on yourself. When coaching he said one of the most important things is to listen and supports their athletes, observes them and reminds the of their previous successes.

After the talk finished there was the opportunity to ask many questions. One that made me laugh was the answer given to a question on “what advice would you give to encourage young girls and boys to run”. Martin said, make it fun and don’t push them if they really, really don’t want to do it, but he made us all laugh when he said, “I’m amazed at just how many parents are so serious. I went down to a training session on an athletic track and the parents bring out gels, sports drinks, energy bars, even though their running distance maybe quite short.” It was a great evening on a very hot evening.

The Derby Half Marathon: Sunday 3rd June 2018

This event used to be called the Ramathon. It’s now called the Derby Half Marathon. It’s a big event with lots of support. A latte from Costa, collect number, get to the start area and off I go. Very, very well organised. Impossible to go wrong. Water and sports drinks available quite often. For the first mile it is a little crowded but after a mile it’s fine. I got hotter and hotter the further I ran, I thought to myself “I seem slower and find this a lot harder than I used to”. I plod on thinking of the medal and get to the end. At the end I get a nice medal and running top and walk down the river to meet my husband at the Dave Lloyd Centre to shower and have lunch. Easy.

Burton 10: Sunday 20th June 2018

A really good thing about this event is it starts late, a 10.45am start. A hot day again. My husband and I decided to cycle to this event as it was only about 14 miles away. My husband knee was sore so he watched. It was a very hot day again but this is another lovely race and good value for money as you get a running top included. It’s a two lap course with one big uphill on each lap. I’ve always liked this course because of the distance, start time and two lap course. When all the runners had finished we cycled home. We got home at about 4pm and all I had all day was a banana.

The Bosworth Half Marathon: Sunday 13th May 2018

Again, another hot sunny day. This event had the most beautiful scenery. We warmed up around the lovely lake and then headed over to the start. It was a struggle on some of the hills but there enough drinks stations and on the whole very well organised. Unfortunately the results took a few days to come out and I felt sorry for the organiser who seemed to get a bit of abuse from a few runners. At the finish we got a nice medal.