Now that weather conditions have improved and the running season is in full swing, many are looking to get back into a regular workout routine. Some people say that getting started is the hardest part but by making these few things a habit, you’ll find the motivation to stick with it.
Set a schedule
Whether you plan to run one day per week or five, it’s important to plan the days and times you run in advance. Be sure to clear your weekly schedule at those specific times so you won’t have any excuses to skip out. Write down what days you plan to run, what time you’ll start and set aside the necessary time to get it done. Post this on the fridge or somewhere you’ll see it each day as a reminder to what you committed to.
Make it a routine
We humans are creatures of habit. We like to establish and maintain regular routines. Aim to run the same time each day. Set an alarm and put your running clothes out in advance so it’s harder to ignore. Once you’re out the door, you might as well continue and you’ll probably find you can go a little longer each day. After a week or two, use the momentum to keep it up and carry on.
Establish a goal
Whether you’re running to lose a few pounds, get in better shape or run a faster race, it’s important to have both short- and long-term goals to work towards. When setting goals, employ the S.M.A.R.T. method which goes as follows:
- Specific: What exactly do you want to achieve? Example: To run 10K continuously without stopping.
- Measurable: How do you know you’ll have achieved your goal? Example: Using a GPS, try to run a little bit farther each day until you reach 10K.
- Attainable: How can you accomplish this goal? What actions will help achieve your goal? Example: Aim to run three days each week: 5-6K or about 30-40 minutes on two days and one full hour, as far as you can, on the weekend.
- Relevant: Is this a worthwhile goal you are determined to achieve? Example: Running 10K is an important goal and you have the time and a plan to achieve it.
- Time-oriented: How long do you have? When will you achieve your goal? Example: Aim to complete this goal in six weeks, making regular assessments each week to monitor your progress.
Find a friend
It’s much easier to stick to something if you have some good company to do it with. It’s also harder to skip a run if you’ve already promised to meet a group at a particular place and time. Joining other runners is also the best way to learn more about the activity and share in your common experiences. The running community is one of the most positive and welcoming groups around. You should have no problem finding fellow runners at every pace and ability level. You’ll be amazed how quickly time goes by when chatting about this, that and everything in between.
Let’s face it: you’re not going to keep doing something you don’t enjoy. Find a way to make running fun and enjoyable. Whether it’s running with a friend or in a group, training to complete a new distance or simply getting outside and enjoying the fresh air, find a reason to enjoy your running and make it an important part of your lifestyle.