Running Granny Green encourages women, especially grandmothers, to gain greater fitness by providing tips and inspiration to insure long years of joyful grandparenting.

The cookie recipes are a bonus!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

How to Look and Feel Like a Runner

The best mental trick I can share to help you feel like a runner is, "Wear your running clothes." I have long said, “Looking good is half the battle.” When I look like a runner and my brain is convinced that I am a runner, it's much easier to begin. I will admit that I don’t feel like running every morning when I get out of bed. In fact, there are often times that I lie there thinking of ways to get out of running that day. It's too windy. I'm too tired. There are no running buddies today. My phone isn't charged and I need it for my running app.

I have learned this one simple trick. If I get dressed and wear my running clothes, shoes included, something magical often happens. My brain recognizes that I am a runner. My clothes make me look and feel like a runner. I am a runner and runners run!

I liken it to muscle memory drills that hurdlers use to build proper form. The memory is in the brain, not the muscle. If the drill is done properly, when the race is on the hurdler will remember the drill and clear the hurdle with proper form.

What are those magical running clothes that convince the brain to make the body run?

Feet Shoes are the most important piece of equipment for any runner. You will find that runners spend more time talking about their shoes than their running playlists, favorite smoothie recipes, or even the weather. You can begin without a fancy new pair, but if you plan to continue running it would be wise to visit a running store and get a good fit. The right shoes may cost a little more than clearance gym shoes at an all-purpose shoe store, but they will be worth it and your feet will thank you!

The rest of your attire is up to you. There is no need to purchase a new wardrobe before beginning. Runners can wear anything that keeps them comfortable. Here are a few ideas …

Legs - I prefer spandex on my legs in hot or cold weather because it keeps me covered and prevents chafing! (Yes, we runners talk about things like that.) However, a pair of sweatpants or gym shorts will do just fine. Pockets come in handy for carrying car keys, phones, and Chapstick. I have found that my legs can weather the cold or hot better than the rest of me.
Torso - Winter running can be deceiving. Layer up and be prepared to shed some clothing.  The first few minutes may be frigid, but it’s called a “warm up” for a reason. Once you get your heart pumping the cold won’t be so bothersome. Wear a sweatshirt or other outer layer that can be easily removed and tied around your waist or tossed aside for later retrieval.  Ladies, you’re going to want a sports bra.

Head – I prefer a headband over a cap for this one reason. When I get warm, I can remove the headband, twist it in two and wear it on my wrist.  It doesn’t get lost and I don’t worry if it was tucked safely in a pocket. The hood of your sweatshirt can be pulled over the headband if the weather gets really nasty. Sunglasses are also a bonus and they will help you get over yourself.
Hands - I know one runner that wears socks on his hands during cold weather rather than gloves because he likes to keep his fingers snuggled up together. I like cheap knitted gloves, the kind you find at the checkout counter in groceries stores during the winter for about a dollar. They can be stashed in a pocket when my hands get warm and if I lose one I am not out much except for the guilt I have about littering.
Wear your running clothes and you'll find you want to go for a run because you look and feel like a runner. It doesn’t always happen immediately and I think that is why it works. I am still telling myself that I don’t have to run today as I lace up my shoes. While my lazier self is still rationalizing a non-run day, the feel of my running clothes is gently reminding me that I am a runner and I will feel better after I have logged a few miles. Sometimes it takes all day before I actually get out the door, but rarely do I miss a run if I have first chosen to wear my running clothes.

Do you have a mental trick that helps get you moving? Please share it in the comments below.

Happy Running!
- Carol aka Running Granny Green
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