Having trouble getting out the door? Here are a few tips to help keep you motivated.
- Pick a goal. A performance goal. Maybe a race, or just a specific workout. that you are looking to improve on. I recently met a woman that was so proud when she ran 30 minutes without stopping, I could tell something had really clicked with her. She is hooked.
-Start slow. A beginning running program needs to be slow, easy, progressive, and hopefully enjoyable. Back in my days at Ball State University we took adults through a 12 week jog walk progression with a final goal of 20-30 minutes of non stop running. Remember, the more out of shape you are, the more uncomfortable exercise is going to be, unless you keep the intensity low. If you can’t walk 3.5 miles in an hour, you are not ready to start jogging.
-Buy some nice gear. Good shoes and comfortable gear might be something you look forward to using on a regular basis.
-Involve the family. Family fitness is an awesome motivator for parents.
-Involve others. It does help some of us to workout with others. Most of the time I am alone, but the tough workouts like long runs or intervals are best done in groups.
-Get a dog. My dog is raring to go every morning, and it’s hard for me to turn him down. He loves those easy morning runs.
-Keep a log. I had a roommate at Ball State that hung a calendar in the kitchen and recorded his time run on a daily basis when he was preparing for a marathon. He took a Ed Whitlock approach- lots of 2 hour plus morning runs in a row highlighted on that calendar. One of my regrets over the years is not keeping a running log.
-Learn what you can. Keep up with new information about running. Read, go to workshops, attend lectures, and do what you can do find out what others do to make them successful.
-Variety. Run different routes, maybe change up the pace once in a while or start an interval program. Cross training may keep you from burning out on running.
-Patience! Many give up after a short time because they don’t see results. You have to stick with it and give your body a chance to adapt.
- Think positive! I used to tell my tobacco cessation students, keep telling yourself 50 times a day that you need a cigarette, and you will never quit because that is what you end up believing. What would happen if you told yourself 50 times a day, “I can’t wait to get in shape!” After about a week, you’d have a much better outlook on working out.
-Reinforcement. I honestly can’t explain why I became such a fanatic about exercise, but I do remember having some modest success as a high school freshman cross country runner, and after that the harder I worked, the better I became. That was all the reward I needed. Keep note of your times run on specific courses or interval workouts and look for improvement. That in itself is reinforcing.
So what are you waiting for?
written by Dave Elger, co-owner, Wasatch Altitude Training Center