If someone had asked me and my best friend on our tube journey home last weekend what on earth we’d just been doing (which wouldn’t have been altogether surprising given that we were both covered in paint and carrying balloons) the answer would have sounded absurd.
“Well we’ve just run, danced and skipped around a 5k race-course whilst getting different coloured paint powder thrown at us”
However if you too have ever found yourself spending your Sunday afternoon casually being covered in paint, you’ll understand the bizarre but hilarious fun that this can actually be.
The Color Run, aptly sponsored by Skittles (and spelt the American way deliberately because, you guessed it, it could only be an American initiative) has been going since 2011 and has since been exploding all over the world in a big burst of popularity, celebration and colour.
Marketed as “The Happiest 5k on the Planet” and aiming to promote health and wellbeing for athletes and amateurs alike, The Color Run can much more appropriately be described as a festival than as a race of any sort.
Which is great for me. I say all the time that I’m not a cardio girl – because it’s true, I’m not, and I’m certainly not a runner. But The Color Run can hardly be described as an intense fitness workout (despite my using it as an excuse for an extra large breakfast portion of overnight oats, yoghurt and berries…) more than anything it’s a wonderful reason just to celebrate…well, your inner-weirdness.
One thing it did teach me is that both Chloe and I have a complete inability to just “jog”. We full on sprinted the first kilometre, which was mostly uphill, thus exhausting ourselves for the next leg of the journey. Whenever we’d try to gradually speed up, our equally competitive urges would kick in and we’d soon be storming through the crowds again, desperate to overtake as many people as possible.
I’ve decided that every month I want to try out something new – anything really, an exercise, a food, a fad, who knows. If you have any suggestions please comment! My experience at Color Run made up my mind that this month my new ‘thing’ is going to be, basically, more regular cardio. It’s one of my little demons that I intend to face head on.
Because of this, I thought it might be helpful to come up with a few tips that I’ve been using for any people who might be interested in trying out running or jogging (because let’s face it, it’s pretty good for you) but who (like me) are just really really bad at it.
I call them the four essential M’s for Terrible Joggers:
What with my background in dance, I have a firm belief in the importance of music in exercise – not only for energy and motivation but also simple things like timekeeping. I have trouble pacing myself on a run, but I also cannot help but go along to the beat of whatever I’m listening to. So, if a slightly slower song comes on then I HAVE to go more slowly and not exhaust myself within the first 30 seconds. So the first rule of thumb is to put time into your playlist- what songs get you going, and what order they should go in depending on how fast/slow you want to go at what point during your session- have it all ready for whenever you are.
Go with a friend. Either someone more experienced that you can learn from, or someone who’s struggling just as much but you can share the painful experience together. Unless you want your run or jog to be exclusively “you” time, then having a buddy can really help make the experience more enjoyable.
3) Map it out.
Plan your route beforehand. That way you can identify particular points where you want to speed up/slow down/stop and stretch etc. Breaking up the route makes the journey more manageable, and easier to tackle mentally and physically.
4) Mind over Matter.
Do whatever you need to do to psyche yourself up, and gradually your mentality will start changing – you might even start looking forward to the weekly jog, who knows? The power of the brain is incredible – the body will only start giving up once the mind has.
If those fail I suppose you could always hire some friends to bang drums and chuck paint at you every kilometre. Or you could just sign up for next year’s Color Run.