1. Run to the beat
Running to a playlist of your favourite artists and songs can help keep you on track, providing motivation when you need it. Uptempo music also mimics an increased heart rate, causing a surge in adrenaline that can significantly boost performance.
Why it works “Music can help you get into a steady rhythm,” says Morgan. “Too often people start too fast and can’t maintain the pace. Sticking to the tempo will take the focus away from your legs and lungs, and help you maintain your pace throughout.”
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2. Beat the bus
Running to a specific destination – to or from work, say – can be a great way to enjoy your cardio: you’ll avoid the rush hour (winning kudos from the boss) while reaping fitness rewards.
Why it works “Not only will you save money on travel costs, but this is a great way to add training into your day without having to set aside a lot of extra time. It also restricts your choices – if you have no other way to get home from the office, you are more likely to put your trainers on even when motivation is low.”
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3. Raise some cash
Get sponsorship to run for a particular charity or cause, and you should gain confidence and a sense of community. At the very least, it’ll guilt you into putting your best effort in. Just think of the needy children/animals/lifeguards who’ll miss out if you let them down.
Why it works “Signing up for a race that requires you to gain sponsorship can be a great way to motivate yourself. You not only have your own expectations to meet, but also those of everyone who has sponsored you.”
4. Get outside
Staring at a blank gym wall while endlessly treading on pieces of cardio equipment can seem like a thankless, daunting task. Taking your treks to the country, seaside or hilltops can keep them interesting.
Why it works “I see very little enjoyment in running on a treadmill. Getting outside to run is not only more interesting, but it’s also a great way to clear your head from work stress, get some much-needed vitamin D, and see places you wouldn’t normally see.”
5. Start tracking
Any form of exercise will be far less effective in the absence of a structured training plan. Setting yourself specific, measurable and attainable goals is the way forward.
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Why it works “As long as it includes some variety, a plan will both help you progress quicker and keep things interesting. Doing one interval session, one 20-minute easy-paced steady run, and one longer run on the weekend lets you work on different aspects of fitness and create an enjoyable routine.”
6. Find a friend
If you’re struggling to get out of the door, find a helping hand. Running with a friend means you’re more likely to get through tough runs, while any competitive element will also help you push yourself harder.
Why it works “A study conducted by MIT in the US found that exercising as part of a wider social network can significantly boost your results and performance. The research discovered that friends source motivation from each other and also exhibit a competitive streak.”