STAYING MOTIVATED.

I would be lying if I said I was motivated 100% of the time. There are things I need to do in order to keep myself on track day-to-day with my training, especially where running is concerned. Below are my top 5 tips to keeping yourself motivated and on track.

#1 HAVE A PLAN

If I’m going to stay on track I need a plan to follow. If I don’t have a plan or direction I find it’s easy to fall off the wagon with training, especially with my running. I will always follow some form of plan whether that be on a monthly plan basis or if it’s for a specific event, I will always find a plan to fit the distance and time scale. If you’re a beginner then plans such as the ‘Couch 2 5k‘ are great, even if you have a good level of fitness already. It gives you a clear plan to work to each week.

A good way to get a plan is to sign up to an event, whether it be your first 5K or an ultra-marathon. Signing up can keep you focused towards a goal and makes creating a plan a lot easier.

#2 JOIN A RUNNING GROUP

It can be difficult some days to get out and run. The best thing I did was to join a running club and also joined a Crossfit with such an amazing team. Joining a club means meeting people with the same goals as you and means you’re out socialising at the same time! Every town will have a least one social club and cities will have many to choose from. Go along to a few and see which one you feel most comfortable with.

My advice is to not be scared. The majority of local running clubs or gyms have very mixed abilities, from complete beginners to your seasoned runners. They have all been in your position at some point in their life! Just go for it! You’ll learn so much about running from those people around you. I also find being in a club distracts you from the run. One minute you’re starting off, the next you’ve finished?! Time flies when you go for a social run.

#3 MIX IT UP

If running isn’t your thing or you find it gets boring at times mix it up with other sports or activities. Whether it be some yoga, going to the gym or a different sport completely, add it into your weekly training. My passion is Crossfit, and I do this for strength training on my days off running or on days I’m only doing a short run. You’ll notice that many running plans will have strength training or cross training integrated in the plan, so use that as a day to do something different towards your health and fitness. It keeps everything interesting. Fitness should not be boring! Do what feels good to you on that day.

#4 DO IT FOR A GOOD CAUSE

If you need a bit of extra motivation pick a challenge to raise money for a good cause. This means your doing your bit in raising money for a good cause but also have something to motivate you and give you a reason why your training! For me taking on such a big challenge as the 100 mile ultra, i felt like i needed to dedicate it to a good cause which is why i chose the ‘Alzheimer’s Society‘. See my story here, if you haven’y already!

#5 BE ACCOUNTABLE

Unless you are a very motivated person flying solo, I find having a person or a team to be accountable to helps massively. This ties into joining a running club or a gym. I’m extremely lucky I have such a great support system who make me accountable for the training that I do, and make sure I’m ready for the events I’m training towards.

Another great way to be accountable is through social media. Social media can be seen in a very negative light if you let it take over your life or let it rule over your self-esteem, but it can also be a positive thing if used the right way. I use it to follow those people who motivate me to stick to working towards my goals, everyday people doing amazing things. Not using it to follow ‘influencers’ which unattainable standards. I also use it to update everyone on my training. Firstly because it means those who’ve donated towards my cause see I am working hard for it. Secondly, it keeps me accountable in the sense that I need to show people I’m sticking to my plan. I really hope it may motivate even one person to do something they never thought in a millions years they would do.

I really hope these tips have been helpful and hope that it helps someone get motivated or even start something new! Comment below if you have your own tips to keep you or other people motivated!

CARDIFF 10K: A Review

A little bit about the race….

The Cardiff 10K is a running event organised by the Kidney Wales charity who support patients and families who are living with renal conditions, and promote excellence in renal research.

The 10K course is a flat all road and tarmac route, which goes through the main city centre passing Cardiff Castle and the Principality Stadium (The Millennium Stadium to us true South Walians). It then passes through two beautiful parks: Llandaff Fields and Pontcanna Fields, with a finish passing Cardiff Castle.

This race is suited to all abilities whether you are aiming for a 10K personal best or doing you’re first ever 10K and just want to survive the run! As said above it’s a flat on road course so an easy one for beginners and a quick route for more advanced runners.

The end goodies were a lovely 10K T-shirt, which is actually one of my favourite race shirts I have ever had from the race. Alongside this I got a nice shiny medal, a packet of crisps and a bottle of water. I used to find many races used to give a goodie bag with loads of different goodies/leaflets, but I used to end up throwing half the stuff away. It’s actually nice to get less, more useful items with less waste!

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My experience…

My own experience of the Cardiff 10K was an extremely positive one. I arrived at the race village two hours early to get my morning coffee down me, and to have a look around the stalls for some bargains. I then found some members of my running club for a few photos and a natter before heading over to the start line. I was at the start line around 10 minutes early, which is always the killer waiting for it to start. I always need a wee and get hungry when waiting for a race to start!

The first half of the race was great I was running at an 8 minute/mile pace for the first 2.5 miles. Coming up to the half way water station I knew I couldn’t keep up the pace, so slowed it down to 8.5minute/mile pace and walked for a minute when I got the water in my hand (I have no idea how people can run and drink water at the same time?!). The last 3 miles I felt comfortable in a steady pace, nothing too quick as I knew I wasn’t getting a 10K personal best. I did my usual stop for a walk with 0.5 miles to go. I have no idea why I do it but I do it in every race, it’s as if I need to get a walk in every time whether I’m tired or not.

Regardless of the walk, I managed to get a personal best for the Cardiff 10K with a time of 53:32, which I couldn’t be more happy with. Maybe next year I can at least level my 10K personal best. At the finish we were given our goodies and then the long wait at the bag drop! The worst part of any large race, having to queue for half an hour+ for my bag! It’s no fault of the organisers as there isn’t really a way around it. However, at the end of a race you just want to grab your bags and get to the grub! My advice is if you can manage without taking a bag or have supporters then don’t bother leaving anything in a bag drop.

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Highlights: The atmosphere on the streets of Cardiff City Centre. That’s one thing you can’t experience with many ultra-marathons! Can’t beat the crowds cheering everyone on.

Lowlights: My usual 0.5 mile towards the end walk. Not really race associated but more personal, I need to learn how to keep it going at the point!

Cardiff 10K 2020 places are now open if you do fancy giving this one a go!