Chores

Does anyone really like them? Maybe you’re one of those interesting people who have convinced yourself that you like them. What makes them so bad is we feel we are compelled to do them and we would rather be doing something else.

To the newly initiated, running can definitely feel like a chore after a week or two when the excitement of something new and shiny wears off. Getting past that is key to gaining the benefits of running to your mental and physical health.

Everyone always says it takes 21 days to form a habit, but for some it could take six months. The first thing to remember when you are building a new habit or trying to change an old one (which usually go hand-in-hand) is that you are not failing if it takes you longer or if you hit bumps along the way.

Habits are built in the neural pathways of your brain. These pathways transform running from a chore to an enjoyable routine, of course there are hard days, there is in everything. As your brain paves the road for you to run down, going for your run becomes automatic.

Things that will help you clear the area for your road and then begin laying the pavement are:

  1. Know why you are going out there. Set an intention for each run. Ask yourself what do you want to get from your run today? Burn off the lunch doughnut, time to think about something, time to destress, time to be alone, get that runners high, reach the next level of speed training, climb the hill that’s been giving you hell.
  2. Focus on small, achievable goals. These keep you motivated and help you feel successful along the way to larger goals. Track your progress even if it is small including, speed, distance, even number of times a week.
  3. Create a routine for your running. This can be as simple as keeping your running shoes just for running. This will set your brain up to go into running mode when you tie up your laces or begin your routine.
  4. Get your running gear ready the day before. Whether you run in the morning or in the evening have your gear where you can see it. If you tend to forget stuff and workout mid-day, keep extra in your car.
  5. Schedule your run on your calendar. If you have time set aside for your run, you’re much more likely to go. When it’s time, just go. Don’t give yourself time to make excuses.
  6. Give it ten minutes. Get out there for ten minutes, if you still want to turn around after that, then do. In my experience, going from zero to moving is the hardest part, once you’re going and warmed up, you’ll want to keep moving.
  7. Create a healthy reward loop. We like rewards. They make us happy and more likely to do something again. What is the best part of your day? Make that a reward after you go for your run. Love to watch a particular TV series, make it after your run. Love your morning coffee, after your run. Love a long hot shower, after your run.
  8. Focus on the good feelings. When you’re out there and when you finish your run. Focus on those positive feelings. Store them in your memory, make them strong. When you’re having a hard time getting out the door remember them—replay them in your head.
  9. Join an established running group or commit to a friend.
  10. Running is hard, but it gets easier. Positive reinforcement goes a long way. Fake it until you make it, does too.

In the Beginning

tired_runner1

The beginning of the year always jolts people into action to improve their lives or to set goals they would like to achieve by years end. Many of these goals are health related such as eating better, losing weight, and exercising on a regular basis.

We are three weeks into the year, or twenty-one days. How many people have been able to continue on their journey to a healthier life style? I’m not sure, but I know the gym is starting to dwindle down to the regulars. It takes twenty-one days to form a habit, so if you have made it this far you are well on your way to achieving your goal. The hardest part is getting started.

A nice way to get your self-motivated is to pick a 5k (3.1 miles) run in your city a few months out and then work yourself up to the three miles over twelve weeks. Even in the winter, there are 5k’s here and there, especially if there are any holidays coming up. If you can’t find one, don’t let that stop you from starting.

What do you need to get started?

Don’t go out and spend a lot of money when you first start running. The one purchase I always recommend is shoes. Get some good running shoes from a local running store. They can help you decide which shoes are best for you. Before you go, know that good running shoes are kinda expensive ($ 120 on average).

The other important piece of equipment is clothing. They don’t need to be from the running store. Look around at your local clothing stores for their exercise clothing. Target has a great line of clothing for exercising and it’s not expensive. Having appropriate clothing is important for a few reasons, you want to be able to run comfortably regardless of the weather outside and you don’t want chafing.

That’s it. All you need to start is clothing and shoes.

How do you get started?

There are many beginner programs out there. You want to pick one based upon your fitness level. Of course, you should always check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. If you are overweight and have been inactive for over six months, beginning with walking twenty minutes a day is a perfect starting line for you. Each week try to increase your pace by a few minutes. Once you are comfortable with walking at a quick pace you can move on to a run walk program, which I’ll talk about next.

Start here if you are brand new to running, have not done any exercising in the last six months, and are in reasonable shape, you need to start with a run walk program. Start with walking five minutes and running two minutes. If that’s hard, run one minute and walk four minutes. Continue alternating between walking and running for twenty minutes. As you make progress, you will increase the amount of time you are running and decrease the amount of time you are walking until you are running for the entire twenty minutes. You should start here if you haven’t been running for eight weeks or more due to injury. Once you can do this, move on to the next step.

Okay now you can run twenty minutes without stopping. Finding twenty minutes a day to squeeze in a run is doable for most people. But, what if you don’t want to stop with just twenty minutes? Perhaps running has become your new best friend and you want to spend even more time together.

That’s fantastic! There are a few rules to keep in mind as you increase your miles until you reach your goal. First is never increase your miles by more than ten percent each week. Second is, reduce your miles by twenty to twenty-five percent every fourth week. Following these two simple rules will help you stay injury free as you increase your miles.