Appalling double negative aside, it's just two weeks until my second running race. Two weeks from race day. And I don't appear to have done much running, even though I love it: what has happened? My own running story began several years ago (not sure when exactly and have tried to think back to the start but can't attach any kind of time to it - let's say eight years ago). I read a book by an inspirational woman named Sam Murphy. The book is called Run for Life and was recommended by my cousin for my mum, but I was the one who picked it up and (sorry) ran with it.

The book was a revelation. I photocopied the plan for beginners, stuck it to the fridge and set about completing it, marking each successful run with a smiley face sticker (motivational tip No.1!). Now, the fridge didn't get that much through traffic, but I knew I didn't want to have to explain - to myself or anyone else - why any given day did not have a sticker. Prominently displaying the plan was therefore the way to go (MT No.2!).

For the purpose of brevity, let's just say it all went swimmingly up until the pain began. Stupid calf pain that repeatedly sidelined me, forcing me to go back to the beginning of the plan and becoming increasingly frustrating until I gave it up altogether several months later for the sake of my sanity (Laura minus exercise equals monster; it was safer to find another activity).

Cut to 2013. Following several injury-free years of Pilates, yoga, dance, Zumba, aerobics, swimming, Body Pump, Body Combat etc, I moved to sunnier climes.

Trees and water

The thought of exercising indoors here just seemed ridiculous! I love being outdoors, I love exercising - must not join gym! Okay, what do I do instead? Run again...? Oh, no, don't do it, your calves will hate you.

Beautiful trainers. And running tights.

But everybody seems to run here. I'm doing it.

I picked up Run for Life and off I went again: planny planny, follow follow. Life was good and I bought new trainers.

Signed up for race. Built up to race distance. Bought GPS watch. Did first race. Loved it! Entered second race....

...Which is where we are today. Two weeks from race day. And I don't appear to have done much running. Even though I love it.

You see, that's the thing. I find it's incredibly easy to put off running, even when all I really want to do is run. I can hardly believe how much time I spend thinking about going running vs actually running. I don't think I know why I struggle with the motivation to carry out an activity I love, but I doubt I'm the only one who finds opening the front door the most difficult part of running. So here are my tips to help you open your front door more easily...

  1. Stickers (rubber stamps are fun too, but require a little more effort and equipment).
  2. Publicise running plan, any way you see fit.
  3. Buy new stuff: trainers, watch, clothes, whatever you love and can reasonably afford (please note: buying running stuff is an investment, not a frivolity. Do not feel guilt over running-related purchases. Some people recommend buying it as a reward for reaching a running milestone; I say just buy it).
  4. Find motivational quote or similar that resonates. One of my favourites: There will be a day I cannot run. Today is not that day. This reminds me how lucky I am and makes me think about others who would love to run but can't.
  5. Read Runner's World. Other people's stories are hugely motivating and help to put things in perspective. Here's one for everybody, runner or not.
  6. Tell yourself that you are a runner. You love being able to tell people (including yourself) that you are a runner. But you can't do that unless you actually run. Off you go, then.

Any other business:

  • Made birthday brownies for love of life (hereafter known as LoL)

Brownies in progress

Brownies

  • Gave chilli plant as gift to LoL

Chilli plant

  • Deviated from wholegrain, green tea, generally healthy diet today to enjoy thickly-sliced white toast with butter, jam and black tea. Nine hours later I am still smiling.

Tea and toast