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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Join an established running group or commit to a friend.
- Running is hard, but it gets easier. Positive reinforcement goes a long way. Fake it until you make it, does too.