How far do you have to run to count it as a successful workout? At least 20 minutes? As long as you’ve reached 5k?
When your fitness levels have surpassed the couch to 5k programme, personal expectations mount. Yet some days, when your head’s just not in it or your legs feel heavy, getting through 3 miles seems like wading through treacle. Giving up halfway comes with a hefty dose of deflation and disappointment. We beat ourselves up, wondering why we even bothered to get out of bed. Yet it turns out you’ll be reaping huge benefits as soon as you step out the door…
Movement > No Movement
Get away from the “go hard or go home” mindset. Doing something, no matter how long or fast you go, is always better than nothing. When your body is tired or you’ve had a taxing day, it’s time to accept that your planned mileage just isn’t going to happen. Which is why “little and often” can be a much better motto to adopt - because, over time, you’ll end up doing more.
Only have 15 minutes in the morning? Getting out in the fresh air is one of the best ways to set you up for the day - just pick up the pace a little if you can. You can’t always wait until you have the time or energy levels to run the perfect 10k.
The Benefits of Short Movement
So much focus is put on calorie burn or race times, yet we tend to forget about the benefits you can reap from running for even just a few minutes. Studies have shown that this can add years to your life, even when done at a slow pace.Runners are also said to be 45 per cent less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than non-runners.
But it’s not just your health that will feel the benefit. Your mental health can feel the reward whether you’ve reached the 3-mile point or not. Better moods, increased positivity and improved sleep patterns can be gained from just getting out for a quick jog.
If you don’t feel up for your usual run, don’t throw in the towel. Take advantage and try speed or interval training instead. We recommend these Runner’s World Sprint Workouts, designed for beginner to advanced runners, which will help increase your speeds ready for your next long run. Our favourite? The Tired Legs Training session – perfect for when your legs are feeling the strain of a leg day.