How to Start Running or Return to Running
With the abundance of paved towpaths, recreation centers, fitness clubs, and more, finding a place to run is easier than ever before. With just a little bit of expense, you can start running, improve your well-being, and reach the finish line of an upcoming long-distance running event.
But what if your motivation is lacking? How can you get your inspiration back? And how can you stay motivated?
We all go through these questions at some point in our journey to become healthier and more fit. Here are four excellent tips to motivate you as you start or seek to get back to running.
“Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” – Lou Holtz.
If you don’t understand why you are trying to start running, you will likely not stay with the routine for very long. Whether it is to lose weight, spend more time outdoors, run a 5K, fight depression, or lower your cholesterol levels, you must establish the reason for running.
Once you know your objective, could you share it with family and friends? We make promises and mental to-do lists for ourselves every day. How often are you able to fulfill all your obligations and daily tasks? Do you find it easier to stay focused when you share those responsibilities and promises with others? Then, try doing the same with your running routine!
When family and friends know your commitment to training, they can contribute to you reaching your goals. Make sure you highlight the essential workouts each week to reduce the chance of scheduling conflicts and related stress. As the next tip explains further, remember to be flexible and realistic with your training. Your running must complement your other responsibilities in life to find success.
Understand the actual demands of running. Going from the couch to 5K, training for your first marathon, or completing your first triathlon – these goals place physical demands on our bodies that we might not be ready to handle. Ask yourself, is the exercise/goal practical and safe given my current state of health and the overall functioning of my body?
Being physically and mentally ready to run or work toward a goal is step one. The next step is to make sure your training is relevant to your goals. In training for your first marathon, the primary emphasis is adjusting to the increased time on your feet. A realistic running plan for a first-time marathoner will sacrifice intensity for improving endurance and gaining experience instead of the seasoned marathoner looking for a personal record that will incorporate higher-intensity workouts more frequently.
Lastly, always make sure your running routine is outcome-oriented and review your progress regularly. If you find yourself repeatedly not attaining your expectations, this might signify that your goal is not realistic. Rather than running yourself into the ground and risking injury, adjust your goals and admit that it will take more time than initially thought.
A personalized training program will provide you with a framework for listing goals and building a strategy to reach them. Following a plan gives you the layout for the day and sets up the big picture for the coming weeks and months. Without a plan in place, progression with nutrition or fitness goals can be challenging.
Keeping to a training plan allows you to track variations in exercises, weights, sets, reps, intensities, and more. This record-keeping will give you confidence that progressive overload is taking place. As you see improvements, you will gain confidence in following a training plan. Likewise, if you start to struggle with progressions, you will have a record of workouts to review to solve your issues. Try using an app such as Strava to track all your workout results.
Taking a training plan one step further by hiring a coach or trainer can elevate your motivation and progress to a whole other level. Besides inspiration and a training program, a coach provides you with education and proper instruction for performing or adjustings exercises to your unique requirements. Also, a coach gives you a training plan with less wasted time – maximizing results within your busy life schedule. Check out our collection of running plans that will help you train year-round. From 5k to a 100-mile ultramarathon, we have a training plan built for your experience level and goals. Every plan is delivered via Final Surge, allowing you to sync workouts across devices, receive daily reminders of workouts and activities, and analyze workout and target zone details. Get started today with a training plan built for you, view our running plans here.
After defining and sharing your objective, setting realistic goals, designing a training plan, or hiring a coach, all that is left to do is the physical work. You are now armed with accountability, motivation, and the knowledge to reach your health and fitness goals.
Once you have done the work, why not reward yourself for it? Studies show that giving yourself good extrinsic rewards for exercising can improve the likelihood of completing the workout. Also, rewarding yourself can provide mental strength and motivation to keep coming back to run for more!
Some examples of extrinsic rewards for exercising:
- Give yourself the gift of rest and choose a day to move your pre-dawn run to the evening.
- Set a route for your next run that ends at your favorite park, beach, coffee shop, or store. When you reach the endpoint, reward yourself for a job well done.
- Try scheduling a workout around time with friends or your favorite TV show. Commit to getting your exercise in before you spend time socializing or vegging out on the couch.
- Plan a day for a massage or some extra pampering. When you reach a significant milestone in your training, reward yourself by taking care of yourself that much more!
- If you’ve been working hard and achieving your goals, you may notice that your clothes fit differently. Save up and plan to spend a little more on yourself to refresh your wardrobe.
So there you have it – four ways to get motivated to start running or get back to it after some time off! How do you motivate yourself to run and celebrate your success?