fitness

The simple trick I used that's actually made me run longer.

At the start of 2019, I decided to do something I hadn’t done in years.

I went for a run.

I had spent the silly season, well, being silly, so part of my New Year’s resolutions (yes, I’m one of those people who actually believe in making resolutions) was to start exercising again – and to hopefully maintain it past the month of January.

I’d completely given up on gyms after a long and drawn out on and off relationship, and although I love the super luxe boutique yoga studio I occasionally visit with its wafting essential oils and free coconut water, it’s not the cheapest of options.

But running – it’s free, requires no equipment, needs little skill, and you can do it at any time and pretty much anywhere. Also, I live right near a big park that’s perfect for running so really, I don’t know why I hadn’t started running before.

Oh that’s right, I’d never been any good at it. And by “good”, I mean on all my previous attempts to start a regular running (or more accurately jogging) routine, my motivation would inevitably fizzle.

I’d start with the best intentions, of course. You always do. “OK, I’m going to run three times a week for half an hour. That’s not trying to do too much, that’s actually achievable!” I’d tell myself optimistically, knowing full well I’d been here before and it always ended after a few weeks with runs that lasted maybe 15 minutes. (Look, I’m pretty unfit so that’s actually good for me.)

This same exact scenario went on for a few years before I decided that running just wasn’t for me. I couldn’t motivate myself. I’d never be able to maintain any type of regular routine.

But this year, it was going to be different. I knew it was going to be different. You see, I had a plan to trick myself into wanting run, and it was so absurdly simple that I just knew it would succeed.

Instead of listening to music while I run, I would now listen to podcasts.

Yes, that’s it.

Watch: Sam Wood demonstrates five exercises you can do anywhere. Post continues after. 

Video by MMC

I’d realise that all my past attempts at running had failed because I’d get bored. I was bored of my music, my own thoughts (terrifying) and the monotonous scenery of feet pounding pavement. Music just wasn’t enough to keep me entertained. Inevitably, after a few songs, my pace would slow down to a walk, no, not even a fast walk, before I’d decide that I’d done enough today and leisurely stroll home. Eventually, I’d stop going for runs entirely because it became another chore I had to do.

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But with podcasts, things have changed – dramatically.

I’ve turned into this whole new running person that I don’t even recognise, who:

a) Wants to go for runs just to listen to the next episode of my podcast, which is a new, strange feeling I have never, ever experienced before.

b) While on said runs, actually pushes myself to keep running because I just have to listen to the podcast ep to the very end. I find myself going on 30 minute, even 45 minutes runs (truthfully, it’s more like a run, then a jog and petering out to a fast walk, but hey I’m just starting), instead of my previous quarter of an hour attempts.

c) Enjoys running and doesn’t get bored, which is again, something that doesn’t seem right to me. I’m no longer watching the time tick away unbearably slowly to hit that magic number of *insert goal* minutes so I can pack it up and go home. No, I am NOT EVEN LOOKING AT THE TIME or thinking about how bloody tired I already am because I’m so engrossed in my podcast.

The biggest change for me though is now running doesn’t feel like exercise. Which is what put me off running in the first place. Instead of a run I must/should do, it’s now an excuse to listen to my fave podcast while as a bonus, I do some exercise.

Plus, I’m working out my mind and my body. Learning things AND exercising? It’s a win/win in my books.

My only caveat is that this switch to podcasts isn’t going to help you pick up your pace to hit some speed or time goal, i.e. this is not for experienced runners who are looking for some amazing tip that will make them run faster. This is for people like me – kinda unfit people who want to become… less unfit and who just need something to keep them entertained enough to actually stick to a semi-regular exercise routine.

So if you’re like me, give podcasts a go. It might just be the change you need to turn you into one of those running people.

Do you have any running tips to share? Let us know in the comments. 

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