Some days it’s just hard to get out the door. There are times when you know you should go for a run, you actually planned to go for a run, but somehow when it came time to actually follow through… you choked. You psyched yourself out, put it off till tomorrow, came up with an excuse. It doesn’t matter what happened, but the end result is the same: you didn’t go for a run, and now you feel guilty about it.
So how can you become a consistent road-warrior & running-addict? Here are my 5 useful tips to get your butt moving!
- Be mindful: Don’t think too far ahead! Keep your thoughts on what you need to do in this moment to get yourself running. I always try to run in the morning and there are many days when my alarm goes off and I don’t want to go run. If I start thinking about why I don’t need to run my mind will find an excuse. So I try to shut off my brain. On auto-pilot, I roll out of bed, pull on my clothes and just go. Only once I’m safely out on the road do I let my thoughts wander. Don’t give your thoughts free-reign to trap you into inaction. Trust me, your mind can conjure up a million reasons to not run if you let it. So don’t let it! Remain in the moment, put on your running clothes, lace up your shoes, and take the first step. Concentrate on what you need to do right now, which is run!
- Get inspired: Who is your favorite contemporary runner? Find someone who inspires you and do some reading about how they train. For me, it’s Meb Keflezighi, Deena Kastor, and Shalane Flanaghan. I read articles about their training regimens, dietary and sleeping habits. They never fail to inspire me with their incredible work ethics, discipline, and attention to detail. If I find myself wanting to skip a run, I remind myself that somewhere out there Meb, Deena, or Shalane are training and are each 100% focused on their goals. They don’t slack off or make excuses, and if I ever want to be great like them, I can’t slack off either! So find your personal hero and in times of weakness, remind yourself of what it takes to be like him or her.
- Practice acceptance: Is it raining? Dark? Cold? Accept it for what it is! Don’t waste valuable mental energy stressing over the elements you can’t control. Instead, see the conditions for what they are and continue to focus on going for a run. If it’s raining, pull on a jacket and go run. Dark? Wear flashing lights and reflective gear. Cold? That’s what thermal gear and gloves are for! Focus on what you can control and accept the rest of it. When you are mindful and have one though in your head, ‘go run’, nothing will get in your way!
- Schedule it: The first step toward establishing a healthy habit is to turn an action into a routine. The best way to do that is to schedule in a specific time to run. It’s an appt. with yourself! Allow at least an hour to warm-up, run, and stretch afterwards. Be realistic with how much time you need so that you don’t end up getting stressed out over time or skipping your run due to other conflicts. Find out what time works best for you to run, and then be consistent about running at that time. Do it long enough, and it will become a daily habit! I run every morning and I’ve been doing it for so long that I need to run or I am definitely not the same person the rest of the day!
- Find accountability: It’s easy to let a workout slide if there’s no record of it. For the same reason that writing down goals is effective, having accountability makes the intangible tangible. It turns the intangible thought, ‘I should go for a run’ into ‘I need to run, otherwise _____ will happen’ with accountability comes tangible consequences. Accountability can mean diligently keeping a running log and building up a streak of days running. Seeing the miles accumulate will increase your motivation to run. You can have a regular running buddy, or find a supportive running group that will miss you if you don’t show up. You can hire a coach (I workout harder when there are more people counting on me!), join a team, or sign up for a race! You can even run for a cause (for example, Team In Training for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society which raises money for a cure). Or run to represent, I want to be an exemplar of running while vegan so I always do my best! If there’s more riding on the line, you’ll be less tempted to skip a run!