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A busy student’s guide to running!

My name is Fran and amongst other things I’m a veterinary student and part time runner. This summer I set my self a challenge to train for the October Cardiff Half Marathon whilst completing 12 weeks of full time placement- to prove to myself that when I graduate I can and will make time for running. I wanted to share my experiences to offer you advice on how you might make a busy studying schedule and running work for you.  
 

 

My best friend Eloise and me post Cardiff Half, plus me in my student habitat with Clinton the horse!

My running journey started when I was 10- at the time I would set off for 1km runs around the block in my converse, flip phone in hand, blasting out tunes that my friends had bluetoothed to me. I kept it up throughout high school and discovered a love (but not a talent) for the 800m. Since starting University in 2014, my running took me to discover the parkrun and I trained for the Bristol 10k. 2017 is the year of half marathons and I am just about to run my third.

I can honestly say that it has taken me over a decade to truely enjoy running and fully appreciate its physical and mental health benefits. Whilst it may not be for everyone, it is amazing to see the positive impact it has on people’s lives, and I have noticed that once they have the bug, they are often stuck with it!

Like many others, my university course involves a lot early starts- the hours can be long and placements in our holidays means time off is pretty scarce. Making time for a run allows you to set aside time for yourself, to clear your mind and explore new places. 

NB: I am by no means an expert and my running journey is still (slowly!) evolving, but I want to share the positivity that running can bring to your life!

So here are my top tips:

  1. If you are a beginner- the couch to 5k or 10k apps are a very good place to start. These build you up from the very beginning and week by week you can track your performance to run a very impressive distance.
  2. Timetable. Check out your daily or weekly timetable and slot in an hour or so for a run once a week, twice a week- whatever you fancy. Set a little reminder or add an event on your calendar so that time is allocated just for you and your run. Work out what time of day suits you.
  3. Take your running stuff to uni. Checking your timetable ahead means you might find a spare half an hour at lunch etc to explore the campus. Pack some deodorant for after or your uni might have shower facilities.
  4. Find a friend. Running with someone else is a lot of fun, and the best motivation. Google a local running group, or see who else on your course might also be a runner.
  5. Make a note. Record your runs using Nike+, a notepad, twitter. It’s great to be able to look back and see how far you’ve been running, and how you felt.
  6. Set yourself some goals. Why not start with your local parkrun? Parkrun is an incredible free timed 5km every Saturday morning- they are found across the country. The community spirit is amazing and there are a range of ages and abilities there. Then why not find another distance or course to challenge yourself? A 10k, a half marathon, running round the village without stopping- once you achieve these milestones you will feel great!
  7. Keep your time fluid. If you miss a run or have to rearrange due to studying, that’s ok. Keep the time fluid so you have flexibility if a meeting or lecture pops up.
  8. Stick with it! There will be good and bad runs, trust me. But there will be days that you feel amazing. Enjoy yourself (and, of course, don’t forget to FOAM ROLL!).

So there you have it. Good time management is key but I believe that slotting runs amongst your busy schedule will enrich your week no end!
Thank you for reading! Find me on twitter and check out my relaxed and honest food & fitness blog here. Fran

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