Running with MJ: 5 Motivational Strategies
Updated: Apr 10
2021 has arrived and New Year’s is a time when people often make commitments to better health. If you have been reading my blog you will be aware that in the fall of 2020, I reached my goal of running 5 km, a first for me in 20 years! It was an exciting time.
Return to the quiet beach
Life's details vanish in the wind
The sea rolls into the dunes
The surf breaks
Here is space to love
Translation help from Christie and Rob, oh, and I've taken some poetic interpretation from that.
After reaching my 5k goal I decided my goal for now would be to run 5k 3 times a week, for a weekly total of 15 km per week until January. It was a risky thing as I am a goal-oriented person and have a hard time sticking to such a vague plan. However, what I did decide to do was implement various strategies that I had heard about either through friends or the internet to see if any of them were useful for me. It was an interesting approach for me to try. There are so many ideas that can be used for motivation, but are they actually successful? I set out to see. Here I will discuss what worked for me and what didn’t.
1. Podcasts: lots of people tell me they run or bike listening to podcasts. I have been listening to podcasts while I clean the house, make dinner, you know, the regular work around the house, but would they work while running?
I researched the best podcasts to run with and also asked others for suggestions. What I found was the podcasts were only good for running if I found myself laughing and distracted. Podcasts that I would normally enjoy I didn’t enjoy running with. As well, I really do like to hear the waves, the birds, and whatever nature has to offer me on my outdoor run.
2. Zombies Running App: This suggestion came to me from a colleague of my husband. It is an app that encourages you while you run by setting you in a mission in which zombies are chasing you. You can set it so that you can run normally or with faster intervals. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for trying this, I did. It didn’t work for me. I did not feel the pressure to run from imaginary zombies. Though, I can see that it might work for some people, especially those who are more into gaming than me.
3. Add push ups, triceps dips, or other strength training exercises into my run: Every time I tried to do this, I hated it. Stopping and doing exercises I find so dull was so difficult, even though you can see in the picture below I have the perfect spot to stop and do these exercises. I do feel like I need to add strength training to my health plan, but this isn’t going to work for me. It might work better if I had friends I was running with who would do this with me. I’ll work on that after Covid.
4. Doing a short yoga session after my run: This was so successful. I loved getting home and stretching. It felt so good and my muscles responded in a very positive way. After my first try I began to include this after all of my runs. Going into 2021 my plan is to continue to include the short yoga stretches after all my runs. Now the challenge, to find a free yoga app!
5. Running 3 km 5 times per week instead of 5 km 3 times per week: This would result in the same number of km per week but more runs. This strategy was a great success for me. Trying to get out to run 5 km has been a very difficult task for me, but getting out to run 3 km means less than 30 minutes of running. Not to mention if it is raining, I don’t have to be in it as long. This strategy is also included in my 2021 health plan. I figure if it works for me, I should use it.
Funky Art in the Dunes
The end result of my 3 months of experimentation…I will be running 5 days a week for 3 km coming home and doing a 10-to-15-minute yoga session. Ideally, I will add in some strength training in 2021, but first I want to build the cardio routine and yoga routine. Another thing that has come of this, my sister and I are virtually sharing our health plans for 2021. How nice is that!
I’d love to hear strategies from all of you for how you plan to make 2021 the year you live a healthier life. Or if you already do, what has been working for you?