Running is not an easy sport. It’s so much more than just opening your front door and deciding to go for a run. It takes time, patience, consistency and dedication to make it stick. One of the things I hear most often is “I can start a running routine, but I just can’t seem to stick with it.” I get asked all the time how to stick to running. So let’s talk about that.
This isn’t complicated I promise. Just a few simple steps and running can be in your weekly routine and have you on your way to racing or simply just running recreationally. Either way, if it’s something you are wiling to commit yourself to, you can absolutely become a runner.
1. Have a Plan
I know this seems extremely cliché, and it’s not rocket science, but it’s true. Find and FOLLOW a training plan. C25k(couch to 5k) is a great place to start. It’s basic and practical and doable for any beginner. It progresses you SLOWLY into running, which a lot of people don’t have the patience for. Remember how I said it takes patience? If you want to avoid injury and burnout, you have to start and progress slowly. And STICK to your plan. If you want to get to the other side of the hard(and you will still have hard days. Everyone does), you have to stick to a plan and finish it. Getting through the first few days and then quitting because it’s hard and you decide you “just aren’t a runner” isn’t acceptable. You have to push yourself and get through it to reach the other side. Trust me, I’ve done it.
2. Prepare Mentally
Learning something new is hard. Always. In one way or another tackling a new task can challenge you mentally, physically or emotionally. So, prepare mentally ahead of time. Tell yourself that quitting is NOT an option and that even WHEN this gets hard, you will stick to it. You are dedicated and committed. According to details.com 66% of Americans set fitness goals as one of their New Years Resolutions. 73% give up before meeting their goal. So, decide ahead of time that you won’t be part of that statistic.
3. Get the right gear
Running honestly doesn’t require that much in terms of gear and equipment, however, a few of the right things will make a huge difference. Shoes are number one. You need a good pair of shoes. Go to a running store to have a gate analysis done so they can put you in the RIGHT shoe. It’s not just about getting a new pair of shoes, it’s about getting the right running shoe for your body, your stride, your foot strike. It’s important people so please don’t skip this step. I wear the Saucony Triumph ISO and LOVE it. However, you might require a totally different shoe. So go get fitted. Also, wicking fabric will go a long way in both winter and summer. Click here for a post on winter running gear if you need some ideas. Winter running is my fave. When it comes to shoes, if you are on a tight budget, you can usually find last year’s model on sale online. So if you try on the “8” of a particular style of shoe, go look online to find the “7” from last year and more than likely it will be at a discounted price.
4. Set a realistic goal
Perhaps setting out to run a marathon when you’ve never run before is a bit of a lofty goal. Not at all impossible, but maybe not the best place to start, especially if you have struggled to maintain a running routine in the past. I’m not saying not to set big goals, but start with goals that are attainable short-term that will eventually get you to those long-term higher goals. So, start with a 5k. Heck, start with getting to the end of your street and back. Maybe that’s where you have to start. And that’s totally ok. Whatever the goal, write it down and put it up where you can see it. A reminder that when it’s hard and your body wants to quit, you keep pushing, because that’s the only way you will ever get to that goal. And one small goal can lead to great big ones. And they are all worth being proud of. Big or small, it’s you accomplishing something you never thought possible. And who is really to say if they are big or small anyway?
5. Change your nutrition
You’ve probably heard the phrase “you can’t out train/run a bad diet.” It’s true. You can’t put crap in and expect great results to come out. Feed your machine. Fuel your tank. I’m not a nutritionist. But it’s not rocket science. Whole foods. Lean proteins. Veggies. Fruit. Water. Low sugar intake. All these things combined will make running so much more enjoyable because your body will be so thankful for the good fuel. You must eat. You need calories to do what you want your body to do, so treat it right mmmmk? Please don’t starve yourself. And please don’t eat burgers every day and expect change. Moderation. Calories in. Good foods in. I ate a burger Friday night. So please know I’m not talking to you as someone who never enjoys a good burger. I do. But it’s not on the daily. I also don’t come to you as someone who restricts to a dangerous degree. It’s not wise and it’s not healthy and it won’t do your body any favors. It needs fuel, so give it some and do it in a way that is smart and healthy for not just your body, but your mind as well.
We could talk for days about running and fitness and how to stick to a new routine. If running isn’t your thing, it’s ok. Apply these same principles to anything new related to fitness. It’s going to be hard. Your body will be mad at you. But it is also so incredibly rewarding! Knowing you did something you never imagined possible and seeing changes in your body you never thought you could see is amazing. But you guys, it starts with you. No one is dragging you out of bed, getting you dressed, feeding you and pushing you out the door. It has to come from you. Your self-discipline. Your determination. Your consistency. Your persistence. Your passion. And your drive. YOU. And you got this. You can do anything you set your mind to. I promise.
If you have ANY questions about running or fitness and your new routine, please ask!! I’m here for you if you have any questions or concerns.
Do you have a new routine? What are some practical ways you stick to it??