October 10, 2012 | life

Fit For Life – Fitness Chat

I get asked so many running and fitness related questions these days, I figured I’d just make some YouTube videos to answer them. This is the first one and I hope you find it useful. I’m trying to answer three questions per video and don’t want the vids to be too long, so here are some additional notes that didn’t make the video cut:

1. How do I control my breathing when running?

I give three tips for this in the video but my final one would be to run with other people. When you run with someone else, a good measure of whether you’ve got your pace right is that you should be able to hold a conversation. Granted, it’ll be a bit of a breathy one with a few gaps, but you should be able to hold one. If you’re pushing your pace, you should be able to get the odd sentence out and if you’re working on speed work, you might be able to get a couple of words out and that’s it. But if you’re running at a pace you’d like to be able to maintain comfortably and you aren’t able to speak, you’re going too fast. Slow down – this will help you get to grips with your breathing.

2. How do you motivate yourself to run during the winter months?

Races tend to drop off after November really so there are these weird couple of no man’s land months where you feel a bit lost as you don’t have anything to train for before you pick up training again for spring races. I’m a very goal oriented person and need to be working towards something with my training. What I did last year was set myself a challenge on Nike+ to run 80 miles in the month of December. That made sure I got out there a few times a week and clocked miles. I invited Nike+ friends to join me and it turned into a friendly competition. That definitely kept me motivated. I may do something similar this year.

3. Should new runners follow a training plan or just wing it?

As I explain in the vid, this is all comes down to the type of person you are. Fundamentally though, it comes down to what your goals are and how you intend to measure them. The easiest way to track your improvement is through knowing the time and distance you’re doing – if being able to see improvement through those results is important to you, then yes, probably following a training plan and entering races is best for you. However, if you take a more holistic approach to running, if it’s more about freeing your mind, getting some time alone, or just to be outdoors and active and measuring your improvements come in the form of how you’re doing mentally and emotionally all round, just getting out there and running for the pure pleasure of it will most likely suit you best.

If you have a running or fitness question, feel free to ask it in the comments and I will answer it in a future video.

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Thanks for answering my question on winter motivation – I hate running in the dark but I like the idea of either physically inviting others to run together or having a mini challenge like you did with the Nike + app. I don’t have a gym membership but the Mr does, so I might see if I can tag along with him on very wet/cold days! x


Another good tip for the winter months is to check out your local athletics club as they may have a winter league like our local one does. Every Thursday for 12 weeks (starts in November with a break over Christmas) they do a 2.5 and a 5 mile run. They take your times each week and there are prizes for fastest, most improved etc. It’s a great way to get you out running on the dark/cold winter nights and so much fun!


Definitely needed this post for motivation! I love running too, but living in the middle of nowhere makes it especially unsafe in the dark. I’ve just packed my running shoes so I can go out on my lunch break tomorrow instead, so thanks for reminding/inspiring me 🙂

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