Barriers to exercise:

I just wanted to share something with you because I know how hard it can be when you are faced with a 'barrier' to running.

I'm sure every single person here can raise their hand and say they know what it feels like when the mind says 'I don't have time today' or 'I'll go later' or 'it's too early/ too late'

I just wanted to share some of the main barriers that we all face to running and how we can challenge them.

'I don't have time'

'I don't have time' - whether it's due to working full time (and then some), family commitments, occasions, children's bed times, appointments and meetings or getting stuck in traffic. We have all been there and sometimes it's true, we genuinely don't have time. But how can we stop this barrier becoming the thing that puts us back or stops us running all together?

Find time!

As running has become part of my life I have started planning my weeks so I can see where I might struggle or when I can make time. On days where I am working late I set the alarm 45 mins earlier and now with the weather changing hopefully the thought of heading out at 6am is more appealing than when it was freezing cold! If I know there is no way I will get up that early then I make sure my evening has space for that run. Sometimes if I can't fit in a run when I know I should I will sneak in a 15 minute hiit workout. Or maybe you could go out for a family walk or take the kids out on their bikes. For me this is better than putting my run off completely as it is easy to fall into the 'I'll go tomorrow' mindset.

Did you know? It's proven that after a run you are more productive during the day and your mood will be elevated. Getting up early can be much easier once it becomes a habit. Do you know how a habit is formed? 😉

'It's too cold!'

This was a common thought that popped into my mind most mornings while training over winter for Coventry Half. Overcoming this came down to rational speaking. I knew that I would warm up once I started, I just had to start. If you look outside and think it's too cold, put your layers on, lace up and just step outside. Now you will be cold, so the only option to warm up will be to run!

'I lack motivation'

Sometimes we all feel demotivated. We have days where we just can't be bothered at all. But these are the days where getting out for a run is the best answer. The runners high is one of the best motivators for me to go out the next time and the next. Imagine how you will feel once you get back from your run. Visualise yourself finishing. Music is also a good motivator, getting together a good playlist that will keep your mind occupied and get you through those miles. Use your run to clear your mind, use it as 'you' time, getting out the house and de-stressing after a busy day.

What I love about RLAG is that you all motivate each other, so if you don't already, arrange some runs between you and use each other. Find out what motivates you and use it! Keep track of your runs and reward yourself (with trainers or running gear or even a piece of cake!) for your progress and goals that you achieve.

When I'm struggling on a long run and feel as though I 'can't do it' or lose motivation I think about something close to my heart. I'm running the GNR to raise money for Bowel Cancer Uk because my mum was diagnosed and so when I struggle I think about this amazing cause and tell myself if mum can fight that, I definitely have no excuse not to finish this run. That might sound crazy to some but we all have something that drives us, whether it's a person, a charity, a good cause or simply our family.

'Im too old'

Some people think they are too old to run...

Harriette Thompson - 92yrs - ran a marathon. Enough said.

'I'm injured/I don't feel well'

Unfortunately this is one we will all come across and this needs to be acknowledged. If you are ill or have an injury your body needs to rest and needs time to recover. The most important thing here is to listen to your body. A week of missed runs because of the flu is better than a month off with a chest infection caused by pushing yourself. Likewise a week off due to foot pain is better than months off due to a stress fracture caused by pushing your body when it had a weakness.

'I'm worried everyone is looking at me'

Chances are they probably are... But only because a) they are jealous that you are out there running and they aren't and b) RLAG is amazing and so once that logo is spotted people can't help but stop and stare (chances are they will going home and joining the group)

Who cares if people stare- I used to be very self conscious about this but then I started focusing on myself and how I was making myself better and it didn't matter what people thought. Everyone will feel self-conscious at first. If I went out and got on a horse to go horse riding I would feel self-conscious!

'It's hard- I can't do it'

Yes it is hard but yes you can do it! If you are thinking you can't run then just look at the history of graduates we have from the couch25k programme. We have over 200 ladies who have graduated from the Couch25k. That's 200 ladies who trusted the programme and most importantly believed in themselves. I'm sure each one told themselves it was hard and they couldn't do it... But they did! Everyone has it in them, with hard work and a positive attitude you will do it. And then you will do it again and again. Then you will start finding it a bit easier. The actual running isn't easier but you are getting stronger. You never no, with some consistent effort and going out there you might find yourself doing something crazy like signing up to a half or full marathon! (Stranger things have happened!)

On a serious note you are all capable, you will all have barriers, even us running leaders are hit with these barriers. Just remember when you find yourself doubting whether to go for that run, Often the biggest barrier is the mind not the legs!

Michelle Mumford

I have always been into fitness but running was always something I found difficult. Last year however, I joined Run Like a Girl as a way of meeting people and doing something as a group,  and after that first 5km run I never looked back! I loved how running made me feel and the sense of achievement after every run. I wanted to do something good with it and prove to myself that I could take on a challenge, and at the same time raise money for charity, so I signed up to the Great North Run for Bowel Cancer UK this year. To help prepare for this I also signed up to Coventry Half Marathon, my first ever half! When I joined Run Like a Girl I never dreamed of running that far, but it soon became possible. Running has become a huge part of my life and I can't wait to see where it takes me. 

It's an honour to be a Running Leader for such an amazing group. Join Run Like A Girl and you won't just be joining a running group but you will become part of something much bigger. A supportive group of friends, running for fun!