In no particular order:

  • Enjoy your running, not every run has to be better or faster than the last one. Sometimes you should go out and run easy. Pushing every run is counter-productive and nearly guaranteed to result in injuries. Keep your easy runs easier to allow your hard sessions to be harder.
  • Have a goal. Enter a race in the near future. This will focus your mind on a training plan and make you get out there when the TV seems a better option. It never is btw!
  • If you’re training for a specific race, everyone will have advice. Be careful, listen to 1 or 2 trusted people or follow a plan. Too many cooks and all that!
  • Run with company (preferably slightly faster than yourself). It’s not so easy to skip runs when you have made arrangements to meet others. Join a running group or a club if you really want to improve.
  • Mix it up. Don’t be a one paced runner. Mix intervals/hills/cross training/speedwork into your fitness regime. You will become a better runner as a result.
  • Vary your running surfaces. When the conditions allow get off the concrete, run on grass, forest trails or sand. The variety keeps running interesting and the impact forces on your body are reduced.
  • If you run 4 or 5 times per week, rotate your shoes. Running in different shoes (brands or models) will give you a better chance of staying injury free. Different shoes with different heel to toe drops engage your muscles differently, reducing the chances of over-use injuries. This can be linked to mixing up your surfaces.
  • Be competitive with yourself. Do not worry about others. There will always be faster runners out there, leave them at it and concentrate on your own running/speed/goals.
  • Keep running all year round. If you wait for good weather in Ireland, you won’t get much running done. There’s a famous quote which reads “There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing” Bill Bowerman (co-founder of Nike and track and field coach) changed it to: “There is no such thing as bad weather, just soft people”. Pick whichever one you like and get out there.
  • If you’re really struggling for motivation to take that crucial first step, get a dog. The dog has to get out every day. If you’re out there you may as well be running as walking. It has worked for me!