Now I’m well & truly on the mend from my recent spinal operation I’m ready to start exercising again, I’ll be taking it slow but I’m ready to make a start. I think this is one of the hardest things when you want to make changes to your lifestyle & get healthier, actually starting and then maintaining it.
For me I need to make sure any changes become a habit, that it becomes part of my lifestyle. The more you do something, the more it becomes part of your everyday. I really used to enjoy running but I’ve just been struggling with the motivation recently. Plus I need to make sure I don’t overdo it too soon, but I don’t want this to be an excuse as to why I can’t start exercising again. I’ve been working on increasing my walking each week before moving onto running. There’s the whole walking vs running debate about which is better. You can find out here now.
So here’s my 5 ways to make running a habit:
TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
Tracking your progress is a great way to kickstart the motivation, especially if you’re just starting out running. Yes I used to run but I know my fitness levels have really dropped since my op, I’ll be able to see my progress & build up to longer runs. It feels great when you realise you can run longer & faster which will keep pushing you to improve.
For me this is both motivational & safety, especially as it will be getting darker in the evenings soon. When you schedule a run with a friend it’s so much harder to drop out last minute. I’ve talked myself out of runs plenty of times, I’m too busy, too tired etc but when you actually have to phone someone & let them down you really think twice about it.
Plus running with a friend makes it more enjoyable, I like running alone when I just need to pound out the stress but running with a friend can make it feel less like a chore. I’m even considering joining my local running club once I’ve got my fitness levels back up again. I know they run in large groups on an evening so there’s no worry about running on my own in the dark, plus it will push me to maintain running once it starts getting a little colder too.
START OFF SLOW
This is the biggest mistake I made when I first started running. I can hit the treadmill really hard, keeping up a fast pace but running outside is completely different. You don’t realise how hard it can be to run up hills or against the wind. I set off at a fast pace and was soon exhausted and ready to turn around & go home.
You really need to start slow and build up your pace & distance otherwise it will just put you off going again, plus you’ll be so proud of yourself once you’ve been tracking your progress and realise how far you’ve come.
KEEP IT FRESH
Running the same route can be so boring, I used to like to plan different routes or try different areas. Some days I might run along the canal, others I might stick to a road loop. I really want to try a country route once I’ve built up my fitness again, but I’ll walk it a few times before building up to running the route.
PLAN IT RIGHT
This will be one of the main points for me, actually planning my run. I find that if I just set off without knowing my route that I either get tempted to cut it short, or don’t realise how far it actually was so end up halfway through and turning back, both of which just make you feel like you’ve failed and less likely to run again.
If you plan the distance and route, you have more self control. You can decide if it was long enough and perhaps build in a longer route next time, or if it was too much instead of giving up you can adjust it next time. Plus you’ll also be aware of hills etc instead of making the mistake of running downhill at the start & uphill on the way home! Yes I’ve done that and I won’t be making that mistake again.
Just writing this post has give me a boost of motivation so I’m planning on posting my progress back into fitness so look out for my updates.
Have you got any other tips? Are you a runner or would you like to be?