Last week I wrote an article about starting a running routine and this week I wanted to follow that up with sticking to a running routine lets begin.
So you've started a running plan –congratulations! Running is a great way to increase and maintain your cardiovascular fitness. Want to make sure you stick with this healthy habit? You’re in luck-we’re sharing five tips to keep you running.
- Find a reason to run.
- Set a goal.
- Schedule your runs.
- Spice things up.
- Track your progress.
1. Find a reason to run.
To successfully stick with any lifestyle change, you need to identify a reason why this activity is beneficial to you. Running is no different. If you can’t find any reason for running, you won’t make running a habit.
Having trouble finding a reason to run that doesn't involve escaping a bear or catching a train? Running is one of the cheapest workouts out there. Stick it to the “man” and ditch your gym membership for this new hobby. Think of a way to reward yourself with a small treat that you wouldn't have been able to afford whilst paying for the gym. Then use the idea of this reward as your motivation.
Don’t belong to a gym anyway? Running can still save you money by preventing or eliminating medical bills. Cardiovascular fitness like running reduces your blood pressure and can help you do away with that blood pressure pill prescription. Like popping pills, just not blood pressure ones? Enjoy running and you’ll enjoy the accompanying “runner’s high” that comes from running’s ability to naturally boost the endorphin levels in your brain.
There are many reasons to run and to stick with your running routine. Find yours and think about it anytime you don’t want to run. If it’s a reason you relate to, it will help you tie up your shoes the next time you’re not as excited about it as you were the first time.
2. Set a goal.
Once you have a reason to run, setting a goal is another great step to help you stick with your running routine. Your goal can be anything, but it should be realistic. Running a marathon a month after beginning a routine? Not a realistic goal. However, decreasing your 1- mile time in one month can be accomplished. Once you have a goal, write it down and make it public. Tell your friends, post it on your refrigerator, find as many ways as possible to hold yourself accountable.
Still stuck on how to identify a great running goal? Search for a 5K race in your area. This distance proves attainable for beginning runners with as little as 2 months of running experience before the race date. Once you have one 5K personal record set, you can continue to set goals based on this initial time. Fun runs can also help make your running routine more social when you encourage a friend to run with you.
3. Schedule your runs.
You stick to your work routine and meetings because they are scheduled. Scheduling your running is another way to ensure that you stick to this routine. Finding a time that works for you on a daily basis is ideal. However, even just writing down a “running appointment” in your calendar will work.
Feel like running in the morning would be best but can’t get yourself out the door? Eliminate extra steps that might otherwise slow you down. Sleeping in your running outfit or getting it ready the night before will help you decrease your chances of skipping your run. and increase the likelihood that you’ll stick with your running routine.
4. Spice things up
They say that “variety it the spice of life.” Adding variety to your running routine will keep your workout spicy and in turn help you stick to your routine. In addition to helping you prevent boredom, altering the type of runs you complete will also help you avoid injury.
The easiest way to spice up a running routine is to change up your route. Before running someplace new, you may want to check out your new route in your car to make sure it’s pedestrian friendly. Not feeling very creative? Websites like MapMyRun allow runners to share routes, which are organized by city. With routes posted from more than ten countries, you’re bound to find a route to try near your hometown or while on your next holiday.
In addition to finding new segments of your city to enjoy during your run, you can add spice to your running routine by changing the type of run you complete. Interval training is a great way to prevent boredom and increase your cardiovascular fitness. To add this type of training to your routine, start with a 3-5 minute warm-up jog. Then alter your running speed for the majority of your run until finishing with another 3-5 minute slower paced running segment. If you have a watch with you, try alternating intervals of 30 seconds at a fast pace with 60- second intervals at a moderate pace.
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Prefer running gadget-free? Use aspects of your landscape to give you a signal to speed up. For example, run at a moderate pace past five light-posts and then find your normal speed for the next six light posts. Interval running can be fun and will help you increase your running pace over time. Limit this type of run to once a week to prevent over training and injuries.
It's funny but don't try this at home
5. Track your progress.
Watching yourself improve your running over time is one of the best strategies for sticking to a running routine. Start by tracking the number of successful training runs you complete in a week. Record the time it took you to complete the run, the distance you ran (or name of your route), and a note or two about how you felt during the run. Noting the temperature, weather, and what you wore can be helpful when planning runs in the future. At the end of each week, read over your notes to see how far you’ve come and identify any changes you might need to make the following week.
While your running log can be an old fashioned version written in a journal or posted on a wall calendar, it can also be something more high-tech. There are many running apps available for Smartphones that can track your pace, distance, and overall time. Some apps allow you to share your runs with friends you select or the general public. If you are a competitive person, these programs can be highly motivating. The MapMyRun app even sends users e-mails about weekly progress and milestones.
There you have them-five tips to help you stick with your running routine. Try out one today and let us know how it helps you stick to your running routine. If you are a beginning runner, we know that starting with and sticking to a running routine can be challenging. We promise that the more you keep running, the more you’ll want to run. This might sound crazy now, but ask any veteran runner and they’ll tell you that it’s true.
If you found these tips helpful, please share this article with your friends. A running buddy can really help you stick to a running routine. Have a tip you use to help you stick with your running routine that we missed? Share it with us by posting in the comments section below.