One of the hardest parts about running is learning how to keep running so you won’t want to give up. According to an article I read on Healthline, a 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology found it takes 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit. The study also concluded that, on average, it takes 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. Which explains why so many people struggle with keeping physical fitness as part of their New Year resolutions.
In August 2016, I decided to start running. There was a group of moms in my area that met every Wednesday, I jumped at the chance to meet moms in my area and have some support while tackling my biggest physical adventure ever! I could have never predicted I’d get kicked out a few days later.
That experience changed my life for the better. It fuelled me to want to never stop running cause if I stopped, it would mean they won. That fuel is probably the most important part of my running journey but it by no means stops there.
Here are my top 5 tips to keep running so you won’t want to give up!
1. Slow Run/Walk Intervals are your friend. So many people throw on the shoes and start running, typically at a pace that is not sustainable for long. I might also add, this is an easy way to injure yourself. This in my opinion is one of the most important ways to keep running so you won’t want to give up.
My runners in the Learn to Run program that I coordinate through SportMedBC start running for 1 minute and then walking for 2 minutes and they do this 8 times. Maybe it starts out feeling really easy for you but wouldn’t you rather start running thinking well that wasn’t so bad, then be telling yourself, “holy crap, that was hard, I can’t do this” “Slow & Steady wins the race”.. which is also mantra. Mantra’s are super helpful to keep you running when you want to stop.
2. Make an appointment with yourself! Plan a day of the week and schedule it just like you would a workday or your kids after school activities. My day is Monday at 6 pm unless it’s an emergency beyond all control, the family knows that this evening is off the table basically all year round.
Even if I’m not running, I find something to fill this time, maybe I just walk? Maybe it’s a coffee with a friend? Maybe you cross-train? Just don’t lose that appointment with yourself! It becomes a habit and one eventually you’ll never break.
3. Get yourself excited with something to look forward too by treating yourself to something special that you only use for running. It doesn’t have to be anything big for instance, I treat myself to Blueberry Vanilla Overnight Oats from Yumi Organics. I enjoy them the morning of my big runs, it’s my treat and because I only eat them before big runs, it gives me something to look forward to. So maybe it’s a post-run treat or an item of clothing like my fuzzy leopard post run jacket that I wear around the house.
4. Find a running buddy or friend who will commit to being your cheerleader. You need to be able to lace up for yourself but having someone in your corner who either runs with you or cheers you on will make a huge difference and will help you keep running so you won’t want to give up. After a few months of running on my own, I signed up to do the Vancouver Sun Run for the first time and ended up with an opportunity of a lifetime that brought me so many amazing friends.
5. Plan exciting or different routes. This one for me is really important. If you’ve followed me on Instagram at all, you know that I’ve basically been on a mission to run every part of Vancouver over the last year. From bridges to forests and every place in between, I’m leaving no neighbourhood un-ran. Running the same route can get really boring really fast and doesn’t challenge you. Being able to stop and smell the flowers while running, will keep you excited and looking forward to each run!
Running is obviously a physical sport but most people don’t take into consideration the mental toll it can take on you. Having a positive relationship with running will be the biggest key to your success as to whether you keep running so you won’t want to give up and that starts with truly setting yourself up for success. When it’s pouring rain, your muscles are already feeling fatigued or the to-do list seems to never end, convincing yourself to go for a run can be one of the last things your want to do.
Creating a positive relationship with running starts with creating a positive mindset, and creating that positive mindset will play a large part in determining whether you keep running or give up.
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