Sunday 1 February 2015

Jogging is all in the mind

If taking up running has been one of your goals but you aren't quite sure where to start, look no further. Personal trainer Liz Costigan is here to help get you across the finish line with her tips on how to get your body and mind ready to run

Personal Trainer Liz Costigan. Photo: Ronan Lang

The biggest challenge you face when you decide to take up jogging is knowing where to start and, once you have committed to the idea, the next major obstacle is your mind.

Many of my clients are surprised when they realise that their biggest hurdle is not the distance, speed or their fitness levels, it truly is the mind. Becoming mentally focused on the goal ahead is vital.

Your mind can be your arch enemy or best friend. So, before you set out on this life-changing path, remember that each jog will be different -- they will not all be gut-wrenching, some will actually feel fantastic -- but as long as you keep your mind strong and focused, your body will follow.

Telling yourself that you can do this, even if sometimes you don't believe it, is more important than you can imagine.

Being positive and believing in yourself also makes for a more enjoyable experience. If you are feeling low and defeatist, jogging won't be much fun. Give it socks and approach every workout with high energy and expectation, who knows where you will be this time next year!


First things first, you must get the right pair of trainers. This will be your biggest expense but your best buy. Go to any reputable sports shop and get gait analysis on your feet -- this will determine which trainer is right for you. It is imperative to jog with the right trainer if you want minimal injuries and comfortable jogging.


You must have a goal. Without this, you have no focus and you will most likely give up during those bad days and weeks. Pencil in a race like the FIT Magazine 5k/10k in the Phoenix Park on March 9. This will be your main goal and gives you plenty of time to build up your fitness safely. You also need weekly motivation, otherwise the main 5k goal will feel overwhelming. Your weekly goals will keep you motivated with three workouts to do each week.

We all need a direction and if you get overwhelmed just focus on that week's training. Remind yourself why you are doing this and think about how great it will feel when you cross the finish line.


Yes, it might sound simple, but you must be able to walk before you jog. Many people attempt the 5k by trying to jog the full distance, or close to it, on their first training session! Follow the programme (right), even if sometimes you are tempted to keep going, and you will safely make it to 5k in eight weeks.


Commit to three workouts a week. This is the minimum required for you to progress from walking to jogging safely.


Ensure you warm up and cool down before and after your jog. Stretching is very important also, especially after your workout, to minimise soreness. If jogging at night, wear high-visibility clothing.


Irish Independent

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