running shoesThis post was written by a clinical psychologist and hopefully will help you to get fired up and running again.

Are your running shoes lonely? Perhaps you’re finding it increasingly hard to wake up early in the morning to run. Or you just can’t feel enthused about your weekend long run. Sounds like you are in need of a major boost to your dwindling running mojo. Keep reading to learn how to regain your motivation to run by using one of the three following psychology-based ideas.

Use Positive Reinforcement

In behavioral psychology, positive reinforcement has been shown to be highly effective in getting people to engage in certain behaviours and activities. So if you’re trying to get yourself pumped up about running again, you can try using positive reinforcement to your advantage. At the end of every completed running session, treat yourself to a specific and special reward. The key thing is for the reward to be something that you really like and don’t have very often. That rules out a vanilla latte! And if possible, avoid indulging in that designated reward item on the days when you decide to sleep in instead of getting up early to run. Again, that rules out a vanilla latte! By doing this, you’ll come to associate the reward with running, and you’ll go out of your way to run in order to enjoy that very special treat.

time for changeWhen it comes to how much exercise we should do to stay healthy, 30 minutes a day is the mantra that has been drummed into us over the last few years. However, that may not be the case for those of us over 50, after the publication of a study conducted by Queensland University of Technology researchers. We all know that exercise is good for us both physically and mentally, but that 30 minutes has been shown to be not quite enough. We need to be doing 30-45 minute of exercise that leaves us puffing, five times a week to get the most benefit from it. For most of us, 30-45 minutes is a 5km run. Sounds easy, but it’s not easy to fit that into an already busy week. In fact, one of the papers quoted in this article specifically said “the most common barrier to regular exercise in midlife women was related to the demands and multiple roles of their life stage” Partners, children, jobs and household chores all take up time, where do we fit in that run, or swim, or bike ride? Here are some suggestions on how a busy wife/mum/worker can fit in those 30 minutes a day.

  • Start your day earlier. I have been known to sleep in my running gear so I can head out as soon as the alarm goes off, grabbing a banana on the way. It means that I can squeeze the 30 minutes in before the day starts because once the family are up and about, I’m usually out of luck. If I leave it to the end of the day, I’m too knackered and just want to curl up on the couch with my dog and vegetate to the latest reality television show.

 

  • Run or ride to or from work. This relies on your workplace having showers available to freshen up so you don’t distress woman commutingyour workmates. If you can’t go the full distance, perhaps getting off the bus or train a few stops earlier to run the rest of the way is possible.

 

  •  Date night can be a date run. This happens in our house. My hubby and I will go out for a run with the dogs and chat about our day. We not only get our exercise but we get some rare time together.

 

  • Get your children moving. The obesity statistics for young people aren’t good so you don’t want your little people getting used to a sedentary lifestyle. Take them out on their bike or scooter while you run; it’s good for both of you. Be prepared to spend a little more time because there can be stumbling blocks – shoelaces become undone, there’s the occasional tumble, but you can still get your exercise in. If your little ones are old enough, they can start running and the couch to 5k app is brilliant for this. Both of my children have worked through this app and I am now officially the slowest in my household.

 

  •  Rope your girlfriends into becoming runners, and go for a run instead of for coffee and cake. This has worked well for me!

 

  • Make a recurring date in your calendar and let your family know that it is your time. This works well for a weekly bootcamp or boxing session because they’re on at the same time each week and your family will get used to it.

If you can try a few of these each week you’ll nail those five 30 minute sessions easily.

If you’re interested, here’s the full text of the QUT study:

http://www.maturitas.org/article/S0378-5122(14)00206-0/fulltext

friendsThis blog post was inspired by a meme, which I’ve added below, and also by the comments of a good friend who was subjected to loud derogatory comments by a young skinny athletic woman at a fun run. The post was written for us by a clinical psychologist and hopefully it will remind us to support and encourage each other no matter what.

Athletic women and mums seem to have it all- they’re fit, healthy, and happy. However, sometimes this doesn’t stop us from gossiping about other women, or worse, saying negative things about them behind their backs. One study found that women spend an average of 298 minutes throughout their day gossiping at work, home, or school. While gossip can be playful and fun, it also has the potential to turn nasty. This, along with the fact that teenage bullying is on the rise, is all the more reason to remind ourselves to close our mouths when we feel like gossiping in order to be good role models for younger women. Women face so much criticism from the media in regards to body image that it would serve us better to support one another rather than break each other down.

Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, said that there were two primary emotions: love and fear. Gossip and bullying are

stronwomenmeme two actions that derive from fear: fear over other people having more than us, not feeling good enough, or jealousy. Nowhere is this more apparent than when it comes to fitness. Instead of supporting other women’s fitness success we often try to minimise their accomplishments. Who could forget Maria Kang, the mumand personal trainer who received backlash when she began her “What’s Your Excuse?” campaign. Both Kang, who put mums down for not being able to manage it all like her, and her haters were in the wrong. Both exhibited anger, jealousy, and fear aimed at hurting one another, rather than rallying together toward a common goal, like the fact that fitness in any capacity is important whether you look like Kang or not.

The first and most important step in eliminating gossip and bullying from your life is recognising it. We have become so accustomed to putting others down that much of it is automatic. Recognizing this pattern requires being more aware of what you are saying. If you have a friend that you tend to gossip with more, remind yourself to be extra cautious when you are with this person. The second step is to let those who you gossip with know that you are going on a gossip-free cleanse. When your girlfriend starts to put down another female, gently stop her and say “I’d really like to talk about this, but I’m trying this new gossip-free thing. Maybe we could talk about something else.” Lastly, remember that despite our differences, we all share common characteristics that unite us. We all have feelings and are sensitive to gossip and criticism. Try to put yourself in the victim’s shoes and suddenly making that negative comment no longer seems so urgent.

Athletic friends

It’s five am. and the alarm is buzzing. You slap the “snooze” button and roll over with dread. You don’t want to get up and go for a run. You’re too tired. You’re too stressed. You’ll sleep a little longer. You decide to simply ignore your alarm even though you know you will regret this decision later on.

If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Women everywhere are setting themselves up for failure by starting fitness programs to get in shape and then failing to follow through on them leading to feelings of stress, guilt and frustration. The most common problems for both women and men when it comes to establishing a running or workout routine is lack of accountability and lack of motivation.

One of the best ways to women to hold themselves accountable and to build motivation is through the support of a women’s only running group. Our women’s running network allows women to safely meet up for runs together and enjoy the company of others who share the same challenges of fitting in fitness around partners, children and work. If you have struggled before with following through on your running plans, perhaps we could help.

When you run with a group, you get true accountability. If you normally would hit snooze at five a.m. instead of getting up to go run, you won’t once you know that other people are waiting for you. Not only will you feel accountable, but you’ll enjoy the social aspect of running and chatting with friends.

Many women who feel like stopping during their run, push through because they think that the others want to keep going and they don’t want to let them down. The result is that they perform better than they expected and leave their training session on a real high.

Another aspect that concerns women and can affect their inability to meet their running goals is nervousness about running while it’s still dark out (in the early morning hours or in the late evening hours). Safety is paramount and by running together, you increase your visibility to traffic and you increase your ability to run without anyone harassing or harming you. As a running group, you can also go trail running without having to worry about a stranger in the woods or about getting lost. Having a supportive group to back you up and push you onward keeps you safe and secure.

Don’t put your running plans on the back burner. Keep yourself accountable, build your motivation, and find a women’s running group today. Feel free to take a look around and shoot us an email if you have any questions or concerns. If there isn’t a group in your area, we can certainly help you get one started. It’s not hard, and the rewards are huge.