How to Get Back on Track

Whether you’ve had a break from running due to illness, injury or life just got in the way, sometimes it can be hard to get your motivation back. Here are some tips and tricks on how you can get your mojo back and how to keep it.

Disclaimer: This post has affiliate links, which means if you choose to buy through my links I receive a commission at no extra cost to you! I’ll only ever link products that I absolutely love and use, thank you for supporting me.

 

1. Sign up for a race
I’m sure races aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but there’s no better motivation to get out there and train when you’ve got an event to train for. You don’t even have to go for a PB but it could be the push you need to ignite your motivation again.

2. Set goals
If you’re a bit of a planning and organising nerd like I am, setting goals can be a great incentive to move you forward. Print off a weekly or monthly calendar and plan out some short term goals and block your time out as if you would with any appointment.

3. Remind yourself why you started
Sometimes we lose sight of why we want to achieve the goals that we aspire to. If you have a specific goal in mind, such as completing a couch to 5k plan, remind yourself why you want to achieve that goal.

4. Get a running buddy
Many people find that having someone you’re accountable to will motivate you when you’re really not feeling like getting out there. Arranging to meet a friend will make the experience more enjoyable and you may even forget that you’re working out!

5. Get some new running gear
Personally, nothing motivates me more than buying some new running clothes even if I’m only taking them for a little spin around the block. You don’t have to spend a lot of money either, I’m often content with a running top or even a running belt or accessory.

6. Plan plan plan
You know what they say ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ so plan plan plan and I bet you won’t be able to wait to get started on your new goals. Even if you’re planning day by day, look forward to what you’ve set out for yourself the next day and the next day.

7. Give yourself small rewards
Sometimes, if I’m feeling really unmotivated, I’ll plan out each week and plan into the end of that week a small reward if I manage to do all of my runs and workouts. These don’t have to be in the form of designer bags or food treats they can be small things such as a pamper day or evening, going to the cinema or binge watching a favourite series.

8. Look to the future
While no-one can guarantee the future, we can shape it to a certain extent. You’ve heard that saying ‘imagine where you’ll be in a year’s time if you don’t give up’. Try and visualise where you want to be in a year and what great things you’ll achieve if you start now and don’t give up.

9. Get a personal trainer
If you’re lucky to have enough spare money or time, get a personal trainer who will kick your butt and get you motivated again. If you really like the idea of a personal trainer but you are strapped for cash, do some research into trainers near you as sometimes they’ll do deals where you can rope some friends in to share the cost with a group session and also you’ll be more accountable to each other to show up.

10. Lay out your clothes
If you’re one of those people who can only find time to run in the mornings or you just prefer to workout at that time, lay out your workout clothes the night before, that way you’ve only got to roll out of bed, throw them on and get out of the door. Equally, if you’re more of an evening runner, set your clothes out to get changed in to as soon as you get home from work.

11. Be kind to yourself
So you’ve fallen out of your routine, it’s not the end of the world. Try not to beat yourself up too much and if you feel like you need more time off, for whatever reason, don’t torture yourself if you don’t manage to get out there just yet. Just tell yourself that you will be back out there soon and look forward to the time you are.

12. Start small
Sometimes the thought of planning out a whole week, month, even year is a daunting prospect. If you really can’t think that far ahead in terms of how overwhelming it may be for you to get there, take each day as it comes. Set really small goals for yourself such as going for a walk instead of getting running or doing half a mile instead of a full mile. Every little bit helps towards your future progress.

13. Track your progress
I’m all for using stickers to track things that I’ve done well that week. If I’ve managed all of my planned workouts for that day or week, I’ll give myself a gold star. Looking back and seeing how well I’ve done and tracking any progress I’ve made will often motivate me to continue. Bullet journals have taken off in the past year so if that’s your thing, set out a habit tracker and check off each day.

14. Change your workout up
If you’re a runner and you’re feeling a little demotivated with it, why not try some other form of cardio such as a spin class, yoga, or even just changing up your usual running route. A change is as good as a rest, so they say.

15. Look at where you lost your focus last time
What was it that made you fall off the wagon the last time around? Were you setting yourself unrealistic goals that you just couldn’t meet? Make sure that if you’re planning in your workouts, it works for you. If you really can’t run first thing in the morning because of your lifestyle then plan to run another time that is more convenient. Look at where you think you fell down and try and work around these things so that you can achieve your goals. Don’t make things harder for yourself otherwise you’ll think of them as more of a chore than a pleasure and you’ll end up quitting again.

16. Cross train
It’s always a good idea to cross train rather than doing one form of workout which will help you avoid injury. You need to be challenging your body in as many ways as possible so that you’re constantly progressing and getting fitter and stronger. Make sure you’re planning in strength training and stretching into your weekly routines.

17. Give yourself a pep talk
Sometimes all you need is to give yourself a pep talk. You can’t be bothered to go out and run? So what, get out there, stop being lazy and do it anyway! The only person stopping you is you (unless you’re unfortunately injured). If you’re not great at giving yourself some tough love, ask a loved one to do it for you. Get that friend to text you and say ‘hey, get out there today’.

18. Have a quote or photo in a prominent place
If you’re motivated by a quote that you can really relate to, print it off and put it on your desk or set it as your phone background so you have to see it every day and serve as a constant reminder to you to get out there and achieve your goals.

19. Have a contingency plan
After suffering from multiple running injuries, I decided to invest in a spin bike for home use. Classes were just getting much too expensive and it’s not always convenient for me to get to a class. Now I had no excuse to not work out, even if it wasn’t the workout I had planned to do. I can sit on the bike and watch my favourite shows or I’ll make a banging playlist that I’ll sing along to. Plan for what you can do if you can’t get out and do your scheduled run. If plan A doesn’t work out, there are still 25 more letters!

20. Make it fun!
Life is supposed to be fun so make sure that you’re making your workouts fun too. You want to have a little dance while you’re running to your favourite tune… do it! I’ll let you into a little secret, I do this all the time and I don’t care if someone sees me singing while I’m running or having a little bop on the side of the pavement, I’m having fun and working out and that’s all that matters to me and it’s what keeps me going out time after time.

I hope some of these tips have inspired you to get out there and get your motivation back. If you’ve got any more tips on how you get back out there, leave a comment below I’d love to hear them.

how to get back on track with fitness | kick start your fitness routine
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12 Tips on How to Get Fit for Free!

While celebrities like the Kardashians flaunt their workout routines in empty gyms having personal training sessions, the rest of us look on eating tubs of ice cream watching Gossip Girl and wondering how the heck we can look like them with 1% of the budget they have… no…? Just me then.

In all seriousness, health is big business and there are now so many ways for people to keep fit, you’d think we were all marathon-running-Instagram-goddesses but, in case you’re in need of some new ideas on how you can keep fit while spending the least amount possible, here’s some tips on how to get fit when you’re tightening the purse strings.

Disclaimer: This post has affiliate links, which means if you choose to buy through my links I receive a commission at no extra cost to you! I’ll only ever link products that I absolutely love and use, thank you for supporting me.

1. Dog Walking
These 4 legged miracles are more than shedding, crying, hungry monsters that live for free in your home that don’t understand anything you tell them but they listen anyway, they’re also a great way to keep fit for free. If you don’t have a pooch of your own, I’m sure you know someone that has a dog that would be more than willing for you to take them out for a spin around the neighbourhood. Heck, why not even get a bunch of ’em and pretend you’re Cesar Milan The Dog Whisperer… step too far??

2. Outdoor Gyms
On a walk back home with my Dad a couple of years ago we spotted an outdoor gym and I thought it was the craziest thing I’d ever seen! Who on earth would want to be working out in the middle of a busy park in front of noisy kids and flying footballs at their heads! Obviously, I couldn’t resist having a go on all of the gym equipment and I can 100% verify that I was breaking a sweat by the end of it. Here’s a link to the one in Exeter that I’m referring to http://www.tgogc.com/Gyms/United-Kingdom/Devon/Belmont-Park-Devon.html

Dad clearly enjoying the free gym equipment!

I’m 99% sure that at 7am on a Sunday morning there aren’t going to be hoards of people just waiting in line to get on the equipment so if you’re that way inclined and you don’t mind working out in front of total strangers then you definitely need to give this a go. Check out the Great Outdoor Gym Company who have these types of gym equipment in parks all over the UK http://www.tgogc.com/Gyms/

Definitely dressed for the gym!

3. Running
Any runner will tell you that running isn’t a ‘cheap’ sport but I’m here to tell you, you don’t need to spend huge amounts of money when it comes to taking up the sport (unless you really really want to). When I first started running I didn’t have a GPS watch and apps weren’t invented yet so I used to do my runs and then hop in the car and drive the route to see how far it was! These days there are lots of fitness trackers like Nike running, Strava and Map My Run so you don’t need to spend money on a fitness watch, especially if you’re just starting out.

I’d suggest the only investment you really need to make is on your footwear. Get a great pair of running shoes and you can run anywhere you like.

4. Workout DVDs
This is where I started my ‘keeping fit’ journey many many years ago and, truthfully, I can still do the same workout DVD that I’ve done for 15 years and be physically challenged by it and have fun at the same time. They don’t seem to be as popular nowadays, I’m assuming thanks to the internet, but once you’ve found a DVD that you enjoy keep at it and you will see results.

Some of my all time favourites are the Ministry of Sound Pump it Up DVDs. The first DVD was inspired by the Eric Prydz Call on Me music video in 2004 (yes, that’s how long ago that song came out!) and then a series followed, and I loved pretty much all of them until they stopped making them – sad face. I then moved onto the Clubland workouts as Deanne Berry who fronted the Ministry of Sound DVDs had moved there too.

Another favourite workout series of mine are Davina McCall’s DVDs. I think she’s up to around her 15th DVD now and she looks amazing. While the Clubland and Ministry of Sound DVDs are more dance based, Davina’s are more strength training and overall fitness. So trawl those charity shops and bargain bins because you may find an amazing workout that you can do in the comfort of your own home, any time of the day or night and in your favourite pyjamas.

5. Instagram
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll have heard of Kayla Itsines who is an Australian personal trainer who has used her social medial to promote her fitness brand and has racked up 9.1m followers on the platform. She posts mini workouts on her Instagram page which you can do at home and she’s also got some pretty awesome E Books and a workout app.

There are so many Instagram accounts I’m not even sure where to start but a couple of great ones are @workouts.for.women and @absworkouts so check them out and literally knock yourself out with an endless supply of workout tips and everything else inbetween right at your fingertips.

6. parkrun
I guess parkrun technically comes under the ‘running’ category here but to me it’s an entity of its own. Obviously, you can hit the open road and run wherever and whenever you like and time it yourself, but you certainly don’t get to be part of the running community running alone that you do at a parkrun event. If you don’t know what parkrun is, it’s a volunteer run, free, timed, 5k run which started in the UK in 2004 and it’s spread far and wide since then. You’d be hard pressed to NOT find a parkrun near you! Saturday mornings have never been the same since.

7. Cycle to Work
I hadn’t rode a bike for nearly 10 years when I decided it would be a great idea to start cycling to work. My, very neglected, bike had been in the garage for so long but I was surprised that after pumping up the tyres it was good to go. I hopped on the bike to cycle the 5 mile journey and I never looked back, I cycled to work for an entire year after that and the thought of driving seemed weird!

Many organisations have Cycle to Work schemes these days where employers loan cycles and safety equipment as a tax free benefit. Check out if your organisation has one and relive your youth and get back on the bike.

8. YouTube
This isn’t going to be news to you but you can find ANYTHING you want (and don’t want) on YouTube. It has an almost endless stream of workout videos which will take you through abs workouts, aerobics, and yoga, there really is something for everyone.

The first channel I ever watched on YouTube was Blogilates who has so many videos up it would be impossible for you not to find one that tickled your fancy. They really are the modern day workout DVDs except you can pick a new workout every day and still never run out of new routines.

9. Home Workout Equipment
This doesn’t mean that you have to buy some dumbbells and resistance bands and do a Green Goddess routine from the 80s! Home workout equipment has become much more accessible and versatile since then and you can pick up some relatively cheap items that actually get you fit.

I loved spin classes and went every week for a couple of years, however, I never liked that sometimes I didn’t enjoy the spin instructor so much. Sometimes you’d get ‘serious’ spin instructors who would wear cycling gloves and you’d do an entire 45 minute road run sat down, then the next week you’d get an I’m-at-a-70s-party-and-going-to-sing-all-my-favourite-tunes instructor. Don’t get me wrong, they are both great instructors in their own right but it was hit and miss whether I’d enjoy the class or not, that and the fact it became so expensive to attend a weekly class, it was more cost efficient for me to buy my own spin bike!

I purchased a bike for around £100 and it’s the best investment I’ve ever made. While I’m mostly a runner, there are days that I can’t face running into torrential freezing rain or it’s too late for me to get outside and not feel like zombies just might be chasing me. Not only that, it’s helped get me through some running injuries and I’ve been able to keep my fitness up when I’ve been unable to run. The best part is that I can listen to my own music, do my own spin routines and have the best workout! I’ve also watched a few YouTube videos of spin classes for some inspiration or if I just haven’t got the capacity to come up with a great playlist.

To keep things really cheap, have a look on EBay or free sites where you might be able to pick up a bargain on a spin bike, rowing machine or treadmill and exercise to your hearts content knowing you haven’t got to queue in the gym and you’re saving money too.

10. Walking
You may roll your eyes at the idea of going for a long stroll but walking has so many benefits that you can’t ignore and is actually a pretty efficient way of getting and staying fit. At most, you need some comfortable shoes and then you can head out to woodland trails, exploring new cities and get to know your neighbourhood better (I’ve found some absolute gems of places that I’d never had ventured to if I’d have been in the car).

I’m a huge fan of leaving the car at home, when practical, and walking there instead. My main shopping centre is around 1.5 miles away and I’ll tell you, trying to find a parking space on a Saturday there is nearly impossible. There’s nothing I enjoy more than leaving the car at home, taking a leisurely stroll there and not having to stress about where I’m going to park. And yes, it does take me longer but I feel so much better for it AND I’m getting ever closer to my daily step goal of 10k steps!

11. Workout Apps
These are a great way to fit at home workouts into your life for a fraction of the cost of a gym. You can pick up some free Apps such a 7 Minute Workout and Couch to 5k runner in the App store so have a peruse of the ones available and pick one that suits you.

12. Leisure Centres
Leisure Centres, while not always ‘cheap’, can be a great way to still go to the gym but for a much better rate than a gym which has all of the facilities such as sauna. While these gyms are lovely to go to, they are often very expensive and you have to make sure that you’re making as much use of your gym membership as possible to get the best run for your money.

At most leisure centres you can sign up to a gym membership that you pay per month and use the gym and attend as many classes as you like, so if you absolutely must go to a gym, shop around and find the best deal.

I hope you’ve found some of these ideas helpful and I’d love to hear any of your suggestions for keeping fit on a budget!

Frugal fitness ideas | Get fit on a budget
How to get fit for free

31 Tips for Running Beginners

If you’re new to running, here are 31 tips to help get you started

1. Get the right running shoes
Having the right running shoes can make all the difference to your running. Get your gait analysed in a running shop (trust me it’s not as scary as you imagine) and they will recommend the best support shoe for you based on your running style which will help keep injuries at bay.

2. Find a running buddy
Running with another person can be rewarding, you have someone else that you’re accountable to and you can both push each other to go further than you might if you were running alone. Don’t fall into the trap of doing more gossiping than running though!

3. Be safe
If you’re out running on your own, your safety must be paramount. If you have a Garmin, you can add an email address into Livetrack which will send an link to the receiver when you press start and they will be able to track your location. If you’re running in the dark or dim light, make sure you’ve either got reflective gear on or if you really want to play it safe you can use a head torch which will also help you see where you’re going.

4. Don’t do too much too soon
A sure fire way to pick up an injury is to attempt to push yourself too hard too soon. It’s recommended that you increase your distance by a maximum of 10% each week to avoid injury and, if you’re a real beginner, keep your distance the same for around a month while your body adjusts.

5. Warm up & cool down
This is definitely something that runners of all abilities neglect but it really does help you avoid injury and recover quicker. To warm up I’ll usually dance around my living room to an upbeat tune, walk with the dog or add a short walk before my run. Once I’m done with my run I’ll spend time doing some lower body stretches and foam rolling.

6. Track / log your runs
How do you know how far you’ve come if you don’t know where you’ve been? Sometimes it’s difficult to see how much you’ve improved but looking back at your fastest times from 2-3 months ago, you’ll be surprised how much progress you’ve actually made. Keep a running log or journal and refer back to it frequently.

7. Multi train
While it’s easy to go out and pound the pavement to get those miles in, if you’re looking to improve your run times you’ll need to incorporate different styles of running such as tempo runs, speed work and fartlek which will help make you a stronger and faster runner.

8. Don’t underestimate rest days
It may seem tempting to go out running every day but you’ll quickly find that your enthusiasm waivers and you’ll lose interest a lot quicker (you’re also more likely to pick up an injury). If you really don’t want to have a complete rest, go for a walk, swim or gym class to vary up your routine.

9. Sign up for a race
While this may seem daunting if you’ve never run a race before, it will give you the motivation to keep training even on the days that you don’t feel like it. Put up a sign somewhere prominent that will remind you why you’re doing this and how you want to feel on race day. There’s nothing worse than standing at the start line of a race feeling like you should have tried harder in training.

10. Joining a running club
This may seem really scary if you’re a beginner but if you want to be part of your own little running community, learn tons and make friends then this is the place to go! There are so many different running abilities at running clubs, you don’t have to be an elite runner to join one.

11. Try all different types of running terrains
Just because it may be easier to run on the pavement, don’t be afraid to mix it up and try different terrains. There’s a whole world of trail runners out there and they get to run in the most scenic parts of the country. So head out to some trails and give it a go, you never know, you might like it and it will give you another dimension to your road running.

12. Take your dog
If your 4 legged best friend is up to it, take your dog with you (please make sure that you don’t overtrain your pup and stop immediately if you think they’re in any discomfort). Dogs can be a great addition to your runs, they keep you company, they keep you motivated (you have to take them out anyway) and they are just awesome. While you may have to stop for a few sniff and bathroom breaks, that’s not a bad thing, just think of it as interval training.

13. Get new running gear
So you’ve got your running shoes sorted, it’s time to overhaul your workout wardrobe. Nothing screams ‘take me out for a run’ more than getting new workout clothes that you really want to wear. There’s no time like the present, put them on, go out for a run and smash it looking fabulous.

14. Listen to some music
Studies have shown that listening to music helps you work harder. So create an amazing playlist especially for your runs of upbeat and motivational tunes (think Rocky here).

15. Dress for the weather
While it may be chilly outside, make sure you’re not dressed like the abominable snowman. You’ll soon warm up so have a couple of layers that you can take off as you go. If you suffer from painful ears or sinuses in the wind, invest in a head band which protects your ears from the elements.

16. Be social on social media
If joining a running club is just too daunting for you, you can always join the online running community by signing up for either a Twitter or Instagram account. These social media platforms are not for narcissistic runners who love posting about themselves it’s about making friends with other runners, sharing tips and new races with an endless amount of people.

17. You can’t out train a bad diet
You are what you eat. Clean up your eating habits and you’ll reap the rewards in your running. There are so many resources on Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube that will help give you some new food ideas, which will not only be better for your health but will also give you tons of energy (think of fuelling for those long Sunday runs).

18. A bad run doesn’t mean you’re a bad runner
Just to put things into perspective, every runner has a ‘bad run’. Bad runs make you grateful for all of your easy runs so try not to dwell on them too much. Sometimes it’s worth abandoning your run, doing a shorter route than first planned, trying later on the same day or perhaps do some cross training instead. Some days you just don’t feel it but don’t give up.

19. Try out a couch to 5k training plan
If you’re really not sure where to start there are lots of Couch to 5k training plans out there to help you get started and give you an idea of how often and how far you should be running.

20. Don’t compare yourself to other runners
Theodore Roosevelt was right when he said “Comparison is the thief of joy”. Always remember, the only person you are in competition with is yourself. Look back to your running log frequently and remind yourself how hard you’ve worked, how far you’ve come and how far you’re going to go! Try and follow other social media accounts that are around the same level as you are (while following people who are running 6 minute miles are inspirational, you need to find your ‘tribe’).

21. Fun runs
Fun runs can be a nice way to break up your training and add more spark to your routine. These races are less about the PBs and more about the experiences (look out for Pretty Muddy, Race for Life, Survival Run and Obstacle Courses to name a few). Not only are you getting fit, expanding your running repertoire and having a laugh with your friends you’re putting the fun back into running.

22. Running technique
There are lots of running resources out there to help you work on your running technique, it’s not always a ‘train hard or go home’ mentality. The more you can improve your running technique, the less likely you’ll get injuries and you’ll be an overall more efficient runner (and who doesn’t want that).

23. Don’t forget to have fun
Running shouldn’t be a punishment it should be enjoyable. Running has taken me to some amazing places, I’ve met some amazing friends and it’s made me realise that I’m much more capable than I ever thought I was.

24. Foam rolling is your new best friend
While it might look (and at times feel) like some kind of torture device, foam rolling is going to help you work out all of the kinks from sore muscles. If you’re not sure where to start, check out some YouTube videos that will help you get the basic moves down.

25. Get to know the difference between physically exerting yourself and pain
Running sometimes hurts… fact! At times your legs will feel like lead and you can’t take one more step and you have to learn to suck it up and power through. But if you’re feeling sharp pain or any pain that doesn’t ‘feel right’ you must stop.

26. Don’t neglect core work
Having a strong core helps runners with posture, speed and endurance. Don’t neglect those abs and planks and say hello to that rock hard stomach!

27. Keep your toenails short
There’s nothing worse than the feeling of your toenails poking into the insides of your shoes while running. I especially make sure I trim them before a race but always make sure you cut straight across the nail to avoid getting an ingrown toenail.

28. Keep hydrated
Being dehydrated kills your energy levels like nothing else. Keep a water bottle on you during the day and drink from it regularly. If you’re not that great at remembering to drink water, you can now buy water bottles that have a countdown to the times of day you need to have drank up to and you can even get apps that will send you reminders.

29. Slow progress is still progress
So you only shaved a couple of seconds off of your PB? Add all of those seconds up and eventually it will be a minute, then two and then who knows! Just keep at it.

30. Cross Training
It’s not all about the running… try and incorporate yoga, other forms of cardio like swimming or spinning, strength work and sports into your routine. This will help condition your whole body by using different muscles from running.

31. Train hills
Most beginner runners consider running up any sort of incline pure torture but don’t neglect running up hills, they’re great for building stamina and strength in your legs and there’s less impact on your lower body. You know what they say ‘it’s just a hill, get over it’!

I hope you’ve found some of these running tips helpful and I’d love to hear any more tips that you may have so please leave any comments below.

beginners running tips | how to start running as a beginner
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