“The hardest step for a runner is the first one out of the front door.”
When I started today’s post, it was going to be aimed at newer runners. But let’s face it, we’re all still learning. There are people that have never run or have run minimally but want to start in earnest. There are some that have run a couple short races here and there. Then there are the old-hats — those of us that have been running for a long time, know what to expect out of our bodies, but are perhaps feeling or becoming a bit stagnant with our routines. We can all learn a little bit about ourselves or take some tips to try something new or freshen up an old routine.
If any of those describe you, then read this post.
10 Ways to Make Running a Habit
1. Wake up early.
If you’re a new runner or a runner in need of some change, it’s time to shake up your running schedule. It’s well documented that successful exercisers do it in the morning hours. Morning is the ideal time of day because things like fatigue, work projects, and the myriad other excuses haven’t had time to manifest themselves yet. Wake up early and run. It’ll make your day that much brighter.
2. Buy the gear.
You’re more likely to participate in the activity if you’ve incentivized yourself with new gear. You wouldn’t want to spend $120 on a brand new pair of shoes just to let them sit on your shoe rack, mocking you day after day, would you? No, you wouldn’t. You’d rather put the shoes on and run in them than let them go to waste. Buy the things. And then do the activities.
3. Eat good food.
There’s no doubt about it — eating well and turning unhealthy eating habits into healthy eating habits is the catalyst for a positive life change. Once you’ve taken the step to eat better, chances are you’ll be more motivated to move better, too. I speak from personal experience when I say the days I eat garbage (sugar, processed junk, a lot of cheese), my runs suffer. I have less energy and usually end up with some GI discomfort at the end. But on the days I eat really well, I run really well and I feel fantastic.
4. Join groups!
If you don’t think you’ll be able to hold yourself accountable, join a running group. Often offered for free at your local running shop, running groups are fantastic places to make new friends and learn new things. Who knows — you may find your BRF (best running friend)!
5. Have a support system in place.
Make sure your friends and family are on board with your new fit lifestyle. Running is a sport that once you’re in, it grabs hold and doesn’t let go. It’s a phenomenal sport and when you’re in, you’ll love it. Prep your tribe so they know what to expect.
6. Embrace the suck.
Cold. Rain. Hills. Mud. Snow. Sleet. Heat. Sweat. Tears. Chafing. Triumph. Failure. Starting lines. Finish lines. DNFs. DNSs. DFLs.
Embrace it all.
7. Sign up for a race.
There’s really no better motivator than having a goal on the calendar. This goes for newbies, veterans, and pros — all across the board. I recently listened to a podcast with Shalane Flanagan and one of the things she mentioned was she liked having a race on her training plan to keep her mind and legs fresh. It works. If you’re stagnant, sign up for a race.
8. Volunteer at a race.
And on the flip side, if you’re bored of racing or you’re a brand new runner, you should absolutely volunteer at a race. It’s hard work but it’s really fun. You get to encourage runners along the way, all while providing a service for them. And it’s not a thankless job — you’ll receive plenty of gratitude from the runners as they pass by. We’re a grateful bunch.
9. Read a book.
In need of some inspiration? Try reading a running book. There are plenty out there to choose from. Read about the Tarahumara in Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run, or check out how Scott Jurek’s journey unfolded around him in Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness (recipes in this one!). There are lots of fantastic, inspirational books out there. Give one a try.
10. Never give up.
11. Hire a coach.
And one for good luck — if you’re really in a rut or you’re having trouble sticking to a plan or just need another set of eyes, it never hurts to hire a running coach. I know a really awesome one if you need a recommendation. 😉
If you’re in a rut, keep these tips in mind. Change things up. Do something different. And if you’re a new runner, use these tips to motivate yourself and keep going. You’ll put in some hard work but you’ll be amazed at how your life changes for the better once you keep it up.
And now for the Running Coaches’ Corner! Join Lora Marie, Susie, Debbie, and myself for the Running Coaches’ Corner linkup every Wednesday. We love reading your running stories, racing tips, and coaching strategies. Scroll to the bottom of this post to add your link!
TALK TO ME!
What’s one tip you’d like to add to this list?