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Making Running a Habit
Commit to Your Goal
If you’ve never been to a road face, yet alone participate in one, the challenge of running a race may seem daunting. However, whether you’re a regular runner or you’ve never jogged more than a mile, committing yourself to a major goal (like finishing a 5K, or running it in a certain time) is a highly motivating way to stick to your routine.
The first part of the commitment is financial. Races often require cash to compete, which will help you make it to the starting line with motivation. Having a concrete date in front of you provides you with a framework to train toward that specific goal.
If it’s your first time running to the line, pick a small, local race, which will allow you to practice on the course leading up to race day. Make yourself accountable. Share your race plans with family and friends for added incentive to train.
Keep Yourself Accountable
Whether you like to use an app on your phone or keep a log with pen and paper, logging your workouts is critical to keeping up your activity. Tracking your training gives you a visual reminder of what you’ve accomplished and where you still may need to go. You may need to record other factors that influence your training, such as day, weather, what you ate, and how much sleep you got the night before.
Joining a mutual running group or enlisting friends or co-workers to join your race team can be just what you need to make running a part of your healthy habits. Running with people with similar goals is more motivating then running alone. Branching out online is another way to gain friends who have like-minded goals. Post your runs on social media and watch the “likes” and “comments” build your confidence. The praise and encouragement from others will help to motivate you and propel you forward.
Taking Small Steps
Slow and steady is the name of the game to make running a healthy habit that will last a lifetime. Pushing too hard too fast can cause injuries. Allow yourself to develop your running at a pace that is manageable and track your mileage. Increasing your mileage too much too soon will pose problems. For new runners, remember the important of working up to a goal as opposed to putting pressure on yourself to hit the goal right away. Take your runs one day at a time and set a goal to run further than you did the day before. Small changes to your pace and scenery can help new runners stay motivated and engaged in the journey to the big race.
Plan Your Goals
Remember that running, like all of your other activities in life, can be slowed by your other responsibilities, such as your career, family, or friends. If you plan your workouts just as you would meetings, playdates, or date nights, you’ll make it a habit. Place your running dates on your calendar and track your progress. Make sure you set your goals in an achievable way to avoid discouragement or frustration.
Being flexible, open, and prepared will allow you to reach success on your running journey. Prepare your bag for running the day before your run. Be open with your friends and ask for support.