Starting anything new can be a daunting experience and it’s easy for new habits to quickly fall by the wayside as motivation wanes. How to start running and make it stick lies in finding enjoyment in the activity and overcoming hesitation and find ways to ensure running is rewarding, pleasant and sustainable.
Your running journey isn’t a chore or a just a means to an end. If we begin running with this mindset it can fall away as quickly as it starts. If we view running through the lens of fun, enjoyment and personal discovery. It as an opportunity for personal growth, exploration and habit building. Start your running journey from this perspective and you can transform running into a pleasurable experience.
It’s obvious advice but it’s necessary to start slow, allowing your body to adjust to the new demands. Begin with a combination of running and walking if necessary and build slowly. For those with a competitive background this can be difficult but building the habit of running is an exercise in patience and restraint. Set some realistic short term goals, such as increasing your running distance or running for a specific duration to help you measure progress and stay motivated.
Along the way celebrate each milestone, no matter how small, you deserve recognition for your efforts. Use this positive reinforcement to fuel your motivation and help develop your association with running. Acknowledge and reward yourself as you see improvements and meet the challenges you’ve set for yourself.
When you miss some runs be realistic and don’t beat yourself up. Every runners has good and bad runs and skips runs for various reasons. Reset and be ready the next day, missing a run is not an issue, missing a week of runs is not really an issue. As long as you bounce back quickly and keep going.
Find the joy in running by mixing up your running routes and routines. Find what suits you best, whether you embrace morning or afternoon runs. Explore new parts of your neighbourhood. Take some time on the trails and enjoy new terrains. Mixup your running routine by listening to music or audiobooks on the run or take the headphones out and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature while you run. the fresh air and new surroundings as you connect with the environment around you.
Find new friends and enjoy this like minded activity together. Social media has made it easy to find a local running club or group. Running with others activates our innate sense of belonging and provides motivation, support and the opportunity to quickly learn and grow.
When you feel ready enter a race. Bite off a bit more than you can chew today and start chewing hard. Having a race on your calendar can fuel your motivation to keep building your habit for running in an effort to be ready on race day. Use your first race as a celebration of your journey to running this far. While running isn’t about times or winning races, you’ll get out of it what you put in.
To start and stick with running, finding enjoyment is crucial. Experiment, explore, and embrace the process of discovering what brings you joy during your runs. By setting the right mindset and varying your routine, you will unlock a world of possibilities and turn running into a truly pleasurable experience. Remember, it’s not just about the physical benefits but also the mental and emotional rewards that come with each stride. So, lace-up those running shoes and embark on a journey that will transform and enrich your life.