When I’m training people, I find the first three months are the most critical. Once that period is up and they’ve stuck to the programme, they’re usually hooked for life. It becomes a positive physical addiction.
Use an app or write it down; add up all the distances you’ve run and have it all in front of you in black and white. It’s so motivating to map your progress. Acknowledge your achievements and move on from your mistakes.
In those first three months, it’s common for new runners to be super-motivated and do it all plus a bit extra on top of the prescribed programme. They think more is better. Then they get really tired, and don’t see any progress. They’ll go out and have a bad run and feel like they’re worse than they were two weeks ago. Often people expect results too quickly. You need to manage those expectations. Learn to be patient.
If you’re running longer distances, depending on the heat of the day, you should be aiming to drink about 600-800ml of fluid an hour. Sip constantly so you’re hydrating before it’s too late. Many of us only drink water when we are already dehydrated, and then we’re playing catch up. If you’re running long distances, never leave your tummy empty of water – if it’s empty it shrinks down and when you drink a lot of water to compensate, it feels like it’s sloshing around. Combat this by sipping every few minutes. If you’re running long distances, go for electrolyte tablets rather than sports drinks.
Having a specific goal, or running a race with a deadline on it, is the best motivation you can have. It doesn’t have to be about winning anything – the human mind works better when it’s got a goal and a timeframe. Pick a race, and work towards it.