Running Motivation – with Anna Harding

I am so pleased to welcome a bumped edition for the Running Motivation series by Anna fromThe Running Channel. Anna is a runner, pacer, volunteer, and all round lovely person. Anna is also the content Lead for the running channel and has sent me some brand new content about New Year’s resolutions.

What has been your highlight of 2019

It’s so hard to pick a highlight for 2019. It has been the most incredible year and I have been so lucky to have been able to experience so many wonderful things this year. The Running Channel turned 1 year old in October and we had a party to celebrate, which included a live Q&A panel of Jo Pavey, Anna McNuff, Adharanand Finn and Andy Baddeley which I hosted. It was so lovely to see so many of our friends from the running world come together to celebrate what we’ve achieved with the channel in 12 months and I’m so proud of the community that we’ve built in that time.

But there’ve also been some incredible races; the Vitality London 10,000 which I ran in my sports underwear with team Celebrate You to promote body positivity, New York Marathon which I ran for Children With Cancer UK and then topping the year off with TRIBE’s Run For Love (260km in 6 days) in the Azores for the TRIBE Freedom Foundation which aims to raise money and awareness of fighting modern day slavery. Each of those experiences were so incredible in their own way.

Not to mention my personal A goal race of the year – Amsterdam Marathon – which I went and bagged myself a 6 min PB.

I also finally got to run The Blaydon Race. This was a race I’d wanted to do for a long time, having sung the ‘Blaydon Races’, which it’s based on, in the terraces of St James’ Park at Newcastle United for many years while I lived in the city. The race starts in Newcastle and ends in Blaydon, which is about 5.7 miles, ish (although there was a different finish point this year which made it slightly shorter at about 5.4 miles)! It’s the biggest club race in the North East. It’s always held on the evening of the 9th of June, no matter what day that falls on, and this year it was on a Sunday. It was so great to be there, representing Serpentine RC, surrounded by the other club vests of so many different runners. It’s a difficult one to get into. The entries open online in March and it sells out within an hour usually! It’s as stressful as trying to get Glastonbury tickets! There’s no medal (shock!) but you do get a typically North Eastern goody bag at the end containing a ham and pease puddin’ roll and a bottle of brown ale. Perfect!

I truly couldn’t pick one. It’d be like asking me to choose a favourite child. 2019 has been immense.

What are you most looking forward to in 2020

I’m most looking forward to setting some new goals and challenges in 2020. Having seen what I’m capable of in 2019 (which was far more than I ever dreamed was possible) I am looking forward to knuckling down, focussing on improving and smashing more goals. I only started running 3 years ago and I have learned so much in that time about myself and about running and come such a long way, that now I feel like I can put all of those things together to do even more. There are exciting times ahead for The Running Channel too, which I can’t say too much about at the moment, but expect even bigger and better things from the team in 2020.

What are your top 3 tips to stay motivated to run

My top 3 tips to stay motivated are;

Set A Goal

This is SO important! Having something to aim for gives you the extra bit of ‘oomph’ you might need in the mornings when it’s dark out, in the evenings when it’s raining etc. There were a few times when I was training for Amsterdam Marathon this year that I would question my own sanity when the alarm went off at 5am to get to the gym or go for a run and the answer to the question of ‘why am I doing this?’ was always ‘how much do you want that PB art Amsterdam?’ And it paid off! I find that feeling of achieving what you set out to do is so special and rewarding!

It doesn’t matter what that goal is – perhaps it’s finishing a race, a ‘running every day’ streak or perhaps it’s getting a faster parkrun time or a PB at any other distance. Whatever your goal is, it’s totally personal to you. But by having one and having something to aim for, you can feel like you have a purpose to your runs and are more likely to get out and do it.What does matter here is what the goal looks like. You should aim to stick to the SMART principles when coming up with your goal. So they should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Specific. Goals need to meet all 5 of these criteria to give you the best chance of hitting them.

Run With Others!

I am NOT a morning person! I hate peeling myself out of bed, especially in the winter when it’s dark, cold and wet. But when I look at the times I have gone out and run early this winter there is a common theme – it’s always been because I’m going out to run with other people. And usually it’s because I’ve told them I’m going to be there. Having that appointment to be there is so powerful because sometimes you can feel like you can let yourself down, to a point, but when it comes to other people you are far more likely to stick to what you’ve agreed. Plus, who doesn’t love meeting up with your running mates? This is backed up by figures from the 2019 Year In sport report from Strava which found that most runners head out between 6am and 8am on weekdays. Those in groups started even earlier than that, with group runs most frequently starting close to 5am! Those that do meet up with others also manage to run further.

Build Up Slowly!

Yes you might feel fired up and raring to go get your goals at the start of the year, BUT, take it steady! A huge number of people fail with tmotivation because they commit to something ludicrous, get totally disheartened when they fail within the first week or two, and then just stop trying. I know this has happened to me before. There’s no point in you heading out and doing loads and loads of miles to then end up getting injured and sidelined and then having to start from scratch once you’re better. If your goal is for a race, find a training plan and stick to it. If it says rest – REST!

2 thoughts on “Running Motivation – with Anna Harding

  1. Another great post – I’m loving these! Build up slowly is a brilliant one that I’m always trying to din into people – this is why I started my London marathon training before I knew whether I had a club place or reserve place, so I could take the long runs up steadily, and it’s so important for new runners. Best of luck to Anna for those 2020 goals!


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