Running grows more and more popular every year with good reasons: You can get involved in this fun and affordable sport with just a pair of running shoes, shirts and a T-shirt. You can run on sidewalks, a track or trail and no matter where you live, you can run. Running is one of the best things you can do for your body and spirit.
If you’ve never run before, turning off the TV and getting of the couch might be challenging. These tips will help get you motivated and progress from a couch potato to a race runner in no time while having fun.
Know Your Objective
If you don’t know why you are doing it, you are likely to give up too soon. You may want to lose weight, lower blood sugar, get healthy, spend more time outdoors, fight depression or embrace the activity a friend or loved one is doing so you can spend more time with him or her. No matter what the reason is, make sure you know why you want to run.
Set a Goal
It is much easier to stay motivated if you have a concrete, measurable goal. If you are new to running, sign up for a race. Registering for a race can perform miracles for your motivation—you’ll have to work hard to have your money pay off. Participation in a race is also a great way for a beginner to get involved with the running community. Once you cross the finish line, you’ll be hooked forever.
Find Partners in Crime
Everything is easier and much more fun when you have someone to share it with. Running is a great way of spending time with people you care about or making new friends. Schedule runs with your spouse, kids or friends, and you’ll run out of excuses not to run when someone asks, “Are we running today?” Can’t encourage your close ones to run with you? Sign up for a local running club. You will make new friends and get lots of support.
Follow a Training Plan
Many beginners make the same mistake. They just put on their shoes and try to run for as long as they can. In five minutes or less, they run out of breath, switch to walking and swear not to do it again. Following a training plan will make it easy for you to ease into running and progress safely. Programs like the popular C25K are designed just for beginners and bring you, step-by-step, from 60 seconds of running to a 5K race. Plus, they are a great motivation: Once you start week one, you can’t wait to graduate.
Track Your Progress
As you go through your training plan, mark milestones: your first mile, your first run without walk breaks. Write everything down—record not only time and distance but also your feelings and emotions. Get a nice notebook or go digital and start a blog. Who knows, you may become the next popular run blogger.
Try to learn as much as you can about running. Subscribe to magazines, read websites and blogs, participate in forums. It will keep you interested, give you useful information, and make you feel part of the running community. Check out books and movies about runners—they’re fun motivational tools.
Training might be tough at times but it doesn’t mean hard work leaves no room for a little treat. You run because you love yourself, not because you want to torture yourself. Halfway done with your training program and didn’t miss a day? Did you better your race time? Celebrate success. This doesn’t necessarily mean throwing a pizza party or indulging in sweets and fast food. Buy something that will help you with your new hobby: a new running shirt, a pair of new shoes, a water bottle or a runner’s watch.
We all prefer to do things we enjoy. If you like something, you keep doing it. Think about running not as an activity you have to do, but as a way to unlock your physical and spiritual potential. Every time you run, you learn something new about yourself, and this is priceless.
It may sound silly, but it works. Smile when you run—it tells your brain you are happy, and you should be. Think about all those people who would love to do what you are doing. As your body gets stronger, fitter and healthier, your life will get better. Isn’t that reason enough to smile?