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Five tips to help you stick to your running routine

If you're like thousands of others who've started running this year, follow this advice to help you keep it a regular habit

Since the start of the pandemic, thousands of people across Canada have taken up running as a way to get outdoors and stay fit in the absence of gyms and other indoor recreational facilities. As COVID-19 restrictions continue to lift across the country and indoor spaces open up, many of these people are choosing to keep running as a part of their lives. If you’ve just started a regular running routine this year, follow these tips to ensure that can stick with it for the long haul.

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Vary your route

It’s really easy to fall into the habit of running the same one or two routes over and over again. As you continue to run more, you’re certainly going to find your go-to running spots, but don’t let it become monotonous. Running is a great way to explore the area where you live, so be sure to take advantage of it! Some Canadians have made it their goal to run every street in their city, but if you don’t want to take it that far, make it your goal to run a new route every couple of weeks. Do you have a loop from your house that you usually run clockwise? Switch it up and go the opposite way. Run to a part of town you don’t normally go to. On days when you have a little more time, drive (or take public transit) to a different starting location for a change of scenery. Doing this will keep running fresh and interesting.

Make friends

Now that we’re allowed to meet in groups again, it’s the perfect time to get out there and make a few running buddies! Join a new running group or take a look at some local message boards to find runners in your area, and get socializing. Even runners who enjoy the solitude that comes with a solo run can benefit from a group run once in a while, and other runners can offer training advice, tell you about great routes in your area or advise you on the best post-run coffee shop in town.

Photo: Josh Tenn-Yuk

Have a goal

Creating a goal for yourself is a great way to keep you on track because it gives you a purpose. While some people are motivated by performance (for example, they’re training to run a 25-minute 5K), yours can be whatever you want. Maybe it’s simply to run three days per week, or perhaps your goal is to run five kilometres without stopping. Whatever it is, just make sure it’s appropriate for your ability for your current ability level. That way, once you achieve it, you can set a new one!

Keep a training log

A training log can help you keep track of your progress and keep you honest, and looking at a detailed summary of your training can help you determine what’s working and what’s not. Many runners now use apps like Strava to keep track of all their runs, but writing it down in a notebook can be just as effective.

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Go easy on yourself

Running is tough and life is busy, so if you occasionally miss a run or get off-track, don’t sweat it. Instead of throwing your hands in the air and giving up, simply pick up where you left off and keep going. There are going to be ups and downs in your running journey, but if you can let go of the idea of perfection and give yourself a break once in a while, you’ll continue to enjoy it for years to come.