When it comes to running, it doesn’t matter where you start. What counts is just getting out there and putting one foot in front of the other. Before you know it, you’ll be feeling fitter and running faster than ever.
That said, having a reason to run can definitely help to keep you motivated. So we’ve been speaking to On athletes and ambassadors Antoine Charvolin, Marion Delespierre and Valentin Vuarnet to find out what got them started and what keeps them going.
Hey guys, when and why did you start running?
Antoine: I started running when I was a child. We used to go hiking as a family and I would have lots of fun with my cousins running downhill at breakneck speed. In high school, I started to get more serious about competitive cross-country skiing. But in summer, you can’t do this, so we did a lot of running and trail running. Something clicked in me and, in 2015, I ran my first trail race.
Marion: My running journey started in 2013 when I was looking for a way to decompress after work. I used to swim a lot but it was difficult to coordinate my schedule with the limited pool opening hours and I’ve never been a big fan of the gym. My boyfriend was a runner so I just decided to go with him because I thought it would be nice to share this and spend some time together.
Valentin: I first started running regularly when I arrived in Paris in 2014. At the time I lived in a neighborhood with five friends and running was an easy opportunity for us to do something together. One thing led to another and eventually we set up the MRC (Marais Running Club) to make it official. We're still going strong and there's no end in sight.
What is the MRC?
“We believe in running with friends - without stressing over performance. We share a philosophy of fun, simplicity, motion and no time constraints. Running doesn’t have to be a competition with others or yourself.”
Where and how often do you run?
Antoine: I train almost every day, sometimes several times in the same day. Whenever I can, I prefer to run in the mountains but I also do a lot of training on the track or the road to improve my speed and technique.
Marion: I like to run between four and five times a week. Usually, on weekdays, I will stay quite close to my workplace which is in the city. But on weekends I prefer to run in nature, if I can. I do a lot of my training in the mountains to work at different altitudes. I run, of course, but I also like to cycle for some extra cross-training.
Valentin: Usually, I run about three times a week. Twice during the week with the MRC and then once again on the weekend. I really love running in Paris, it’s a great way to explore and it has really helped me discover the city in depth.
I know my local streets like the back of my hand. I love creating routes for myself along the water and trying to avoid traffic or crowded neighborhoods.
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Why do you run today?
Antoine: Running helps me to feel good, to feel fit. It structures my days and gives me a good time with friends and training colleagues. It’s rewarding to achieve goals and I enjoy the wave of emotions that comes with competitions. It makes the time and sacrifices in training worth it.
Marion: For me, sport is a way of life, I couldn’t live without it. I guess it could be any sport but running really gives me this feeling of freedom – something that I didn’t get in the pools, for example. Even when I’m tired, I always find that I get a little energy boost after running.
Running gives me this feeling of freedom. It allows you to clear your mind. Worries seem less important afterwards.
Running tips for beginners
Want to give running a shot but don't know where to start? We've got you. Whether you're looking to learn or want to push the pace, our easy-to-follow tips can help and put the fun into your run.
Marion (continued): As a doctor, I should also make the important point that doing sports improves immunity. I find that I get sick less frequently than my colleagues or friends who don’t do sports – it’s scientifically proven but it’s great to see it in your own everyday life too.
Valentin: Once you get the first few runs out of the way – I remember feeling like I was going to die – you really do start to find pleasure in running quite quickly. Now, running has become almost essential for me to feel good. It helps to release the pressure that comes from the static nature of my job.
The satisfaction of progressing, the air on your face, the secretion of endorphins that plunges you into a persistent state of well-being. It's also great for your body because you're helping to eliminate tension and stress.
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Do you have any tips for others who want start?
Marion: Be progressive. The body adapts but don't make too many sudden changes. Find a good group to share sessions with as it can help motivate you and you’ll probably have a good time together. I find that it also helps me get the most out of myself on difficult sessions.
Antoine: Honestly, give it time. Listen to your body, and maybe do some research to make sure you’re not doing too much too soon. Surround yourself with people who have some experience to give you guidance.
Most importantly: run for yourself, not for others.
Valentin: My advice for getting started and being able to keep going would be to run with a group that motivates you and brings you the fun and camaraderie that can be missing in those first solo sessions. By the way, if you want to come and do it with us, the MRC meets every Wednesday evening at 8PM in Paris...
10 easy ways to motivate yourself to run
Running is great… but sometimes, it isn’t as rewarding as other times. Maybe you just weren’t feeling it or maybe the weather was against you, or maybe, just maybe, it’s your motivation that’s lacking. If that’s the case, here are 10 easy ways to get you back out on the track.