Our team of runners from across the UK share the motivational tips they’ve learnt to help you start running and achieve your goals
Together with Jessica Ennis-Hill we’ve created VitalityMove – a fun fitness festival that’s all about moving to music. As part of the day, you can sign up to a 1-mile, 5k or 10k fun run, with the different distances designed to challenge people of all abilities.
To help you get prepped for the day, we’ve teamed up with a group of amazing Movers who have been blogging about their VitalityMove training journeys – from Diabetes UK blogger Pam who will be walking as many Music Miles as she can, to family blogger Natalie who is training for a 5k with her daughters. Here, they share their tried-and-tested advice for getting started and pushing through when the going gets tough.
1. Start small
Pam Lake took part in Diabetes UK’s 1 Million Step Challenge and has started her own local walking group. She blogs at Netty Meade and will be walking the Music Miles at VitalityMove.
“At the start, don’t put too much pressure on yourself – just put one foot in front of the other and repeat. When I first started walking, I walked at 6am simply so no one would see me – I was so slow and would shuffle along. But I found that walking for 10 minutes is better than no minutes.
“To build habits that last, make your walk part of your day and within a few weeks it will be normal. Within six months it will be a way of life. I think of it like saving up – the more you put into your walking bank, the greater the rewards. I’m now four stone lighter and much more comfortable in my own skin.”
2. Remind yourself how far you’ve come
Paul Stainthorpe runs parenting and fitness blog Father Fitness. He transformed from an unfit guy to a super-fit dad and he’s bringing his whole family to VitalityMove in July.
“When you’re struggling, you need to remind yourself why you started in the first place and how far you’ve come. Making that decision to get fit and start running is huge. During your journey, remind yourself of that first run when you stopped five times. Remind yourself of that barbell you lifted off your chest and how light it feels now. Giving myself credit for my achievements plays a big part in my training routine.”
3. Get your head in the game
Mirka Moore is a marathon runner and award-nominated blogger at Fitness 4 Mamas. She’ll be running with her family at the event.
“Plan your fitness schedule and try to stick to it when you start running. One of the little things that usually helps me is to get my fitness outfit out the night before and do the school runs in my fitness gear. That way, I always go for a run, even if the weather is rubbish or I’m tired, as I’m already dressed.”
4. Push yourself out of your comfort zone
Natalie Ray runs lifestyle blog Plutonium Sox. She’ll be running with her daughter, who already loves parkrun.
“Last year, I ran an ultra-marathon but, at 40 miles, I was seriously struggling. It had rained so much the night before that I was up to my knees in water and my feet were soaked. It was tough, but it was just a day out of my life. No matter how difficult your run or event seems, it will soon be over and it’s an amazing feeling of achievement when you finish.
“I also made the rogue choice to do the event with my dog – all 50 miles of it. She got a medal at the end and was the first ever dog to do it. Being a pioneer always pays off!”
5. Do it for you
Lucie Kerley is a photographer and lifestyle blogger at LucieLoves. She’s using VitalityMove as an excuse to get back into running and to train more.
“Sometimes you need to be selfish and do things for you, not to impress others. Starting to exercise more means making yourself a priority and I think we all need to practise a bit more self-love. With so many model fitness accounts on social media channels like Instagram, it can be tempting to set unrealistic goals, but make your aim to be the best version of you because you’ll be so much happier –and fitter – because of it.”
6. Feel the fear and do it anyway
Brian Hoadley founded diabetes blog Type1Bri and a social meet-up group for others with the condition. He’ll be running the 10k race at VitalityMove in September.
“Balancing my insulin doses, carbohydrate intake and activity level and the fear of having a hypo prevented me from exercising for a long time after my diagnosis. Eventually, I decided that I wouldn’t let this hold me back.
“I set up a group for other people with type 1 diabetes to meet up and show that exercise is possible – in fact, it’s really beneficial when you have the condition. If you have a fear of exercising because of a health problem, I’d always say to give it a go on your own terms. You can achieve so much more than you think.”
7. Have a running mantra
Lucy Wheeler is a marathon runner, full-time lawyer and fitness blogger at LucyFitness. She’s bringing her family and friends to VitalityMove, some of who will be running their first 10k.
“When it’s a tough course, instead of thinking I should never have signed up for this, I say, ‘I can and I am’, over and over in my head and out loud. Right then, in that moment, I am doing it. Believing in yourself no matter what the challenge gets you halfway there.”
8. Visualise the finish line
Lorna North is an adventure blogger and founder of Queen Of The Mile. She once cycled 220 miles in one day and will be running with her boyfriend and mum at VitalityMove.
“When I’m in a race, I have a visual mantra of me with my feet up drinking a cold glass of something. In order to get there I must keep inching forward. I also regularly remind myself that the pain is only temporary. I’ve learnt that imagining your way to success is a very powerful tool – visualisation and mental rehearsal has proven to help an athlete fire up their muscles for optimal performance.”
9. Take rest days
Louise Hegarty is a parenting and lifestyle blogger at Birds And Lillies. She’s recently rediscovered her love of exercise and will be running the 5k race with her family at VitalityMove.
“I think it’s so important to give your body a break sometimes. If you’re feeling a bit rubbish or tired, it’s OK to have a break from exercise. Your body needs the rest to absorb your training and you don’t need to punish yourself for taking the odd day off.”
Need more motivation to get moving? Read running and cycling blogger Lorna North’s advice for achieving your running goals.