Often the hardest part of running is putting on your shoes.
“I’m too busy,” or, “I’m too tired” have kept many a potential runner from enjoying the exhilaration of a great run.
If this describes you, and it describes all of us every now and again, here are some tips that might help you gain — or regain — that runner’s edge.
Make it fun
Do you like the woods? Is your favorite park nearby? Do your running there. Enjoy the scenery. Soak up the ambience. Find games to play as you run. Running along the beach? Chase the waves. Running through a park? Kick a ball in front of you. Get up early and chase the sun as it rises One of the great joys of running is seeing the world up close and personal.
Make it a goal
As yourself: Why am I doing this? Make a goal that gives purpose to your running. Pick a competitive or charity event to prepare for and then track your progress toward this goal. There are lots of online programs and apps that make tracking your progress fun, easy and motivational.
Make it a social event
Find a way to involve others in your running. Joining a local running group is one great way, but there are also tons of running and challenge groups, usually free, online. Here’s one you can check out in Lynchburg, Virginia. With this group you can track your running, compare your efforts over time, join a team, create your own team, or use the chat rooms to get encouragement and tips toward meeting your goals.
Make it a fantasy
Find a good book about running. Reading stories of how others overcame tremendous difficulties to eventually win is great inspiration. A good place to start is with the super popular “Born to Run,” by Christopher McDougall. Get it as a recorded book and listen to it as you run. Set a rule that you can only listen to that particular book when you run. Looking forward to the next chapter is a great incentive to hit the road.
Safety Tip: Don’t cover both ears when running on public roads.
Make it easy
Be gentle to yourself, especially at first, it’s healthier and it’s more likely to keep you running as you build up your endurance. Consider splitting your distance, let’s say two miles, into running and walking segments. Run a quarter-mile then walk a quarter-mile until you have covered 2 miles. For the next week continue to run two miles, but this time run a half-mile followed by a half-mile walking - etc. In Week 3 you will be running the entire two miles without a break.
Experts say if you do anything for three weeks it becomes a habit. Look at your running with this goal in mind and do whatever you have to do to last out those first three weeks. In the end you will be a runner who runs because they love it – not a bad place to be.
Hugh Bouchelle is a freelance writer and faculty advisor to the Triathalon Club at Southern Virginia University. You can contact him at hugh.bouchelle@SVU.edu.