How to catch the running bug

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Without a running event in sight, motivation can ebb and flow. So, with three months until MD Communications’ inaugural fun run around Regent’s Park, Communications Director Katy McEwen-Smith outlines how to kick a lacklustre training scheme into touch and reclaim your run.

Do you, like me, need an event in sight to get you running? The last time I ran through a London park, it was for the Royal Parks Half Marathon. My chip didn’t work and the app will tell you I’m still running… However, the looming race date would motivate me to drag myself out of bed at the crack of dawn to stick to a training plan. With the race in the bag, runs became haphazard and inconsistent. I was no longer a smug slave to a training schedule.

Boost your endorphins

Where motivation is the issue, consistency is the key. Anyone can catch the running bug, regardless of fitness level. There is nothing like the post-run endorphin hit to hook you in. The mental health benefits of running are well documented, and it certainly helps me clear my head.

What gets written gets done

I say that, but I procrastinated for an hour before starting my run yesterday. So, always focus on the feeling you’ll have afterwards! Making your commitment bigger than your mood is vital for me. What gets written gets done in my world, so if it’s in my diary, it will happen… eventually. Another tip is to lay out your clothes by your bedroom door. There are only so many times I can politely ignore them.

Harness useful tech

During the pandemic, many of us took up new skills and hobbies, with running being one way of getting out of the house at the time. Between March 2020 and July 2021, the Couch to 5k app was downloaded 2.65 million times. To put this in context, since its launch in 2016, it has been downloaded 6.5 million times, showing the surge in interest during lockdown. The app remains a useful tool and the plan serves all abilities. There are plenty of great running apps to help you track your progress.

Get social

The (friendly) social competitiveness of running can support motivation. Setting off on conversational-paced runs with friends is a good way to work towards goals together and can prompt long-term behavioural changes. This offers built-in accountability as you both endeavour to stick to a training schedule. Coordinating with fellow runners also avoids you running straight into your neighbours on pitch black winter mornings and traumatising one another before the day has really begun!

Take part in the Legal 5k Run

5k race in regent's park

Catch the running bug

According to a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology which analysed the habits of 1.1 million people, “behavioural contagions exist”. By tracking your progress while following and monitoring that of friends, this can set you back on the running track as you try to match one another’s pace and distance. Look out for the link to join our Strava group.

In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.

Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon Co-Founder

See you on 25 April!

Above all, running should be enjoyable. Those who have lost that yearning feeling for their next endorphin hit know what they are missing out on. Embrace your next run to recatch the running bug, slowly but surely.

And if I still haven’t convinced you, know that the finish line awaits for drinks and socialising. I’ll look forward to seeing you there!

Sign up here for the 5k run with all proceeds going to Skylarks, a charity that does amazing work in the autism space.

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