Running Tips for Beginners - How to Keep Your Motivation to Run
Although my boyfriend still goes through phases of numerous interests like teenagers with ADHD, there are two things that he has managed to faithfully stick to for years; our relationship and running. He's neither a pro marathoner nor a speedy racer. His running posture isn't particularly graceful, and his physique is not even of an athletic type. (His nickname is Mr. Pig. Do the math!) However, in the past few years, he has never lost his motivation to run. I believe running is what has kept him healthy, even with the little spare tire around his waist. If not for his weekly running habit, we might have had to double size our door or bought a much bigger bed. Eating the way he does, he's very fortunate to stay under 200 pounds.
I find his dedication to be quite admirable. Some people who are more physically fit than him quit running after a few weeks, as they're not psychologically ready to commit to it. Running itself isn't the difficult part, but staying motivated enough to keep running week after week is a whole different story. If you're a beginner and about to lose your oomph, here are some running motivation tips that might help keep you on the road for years to come.
Run With a Purpose
In order to keep running, you need a more definite reason than "I need something fun to do" or "I want to stay fit." Set a short-term goal that is challenging but achievable, then compete with yourself. Keep it real and make it VERY specific. Don't just tell yourself "I want to run faster" or "I want to look slim and hot like Brooklyn Decker." Instead, add a specific number and time period to your goal. For instance, "In three months, I want to be able to run 4 miles in an hour," "I want to lose 10 pounds in 2 months," or "By the end of August, I want to be able to run 3 miles without taking breaks." Better yet, make a little bet with your friend or family member. It can turn out to be a very motivational game for you. For example, if you reach your goal, they will have to take you out for dinner. And if you don't, you'll be the one paying for the meal!
Run and Log
Keeping a running journal or a training log is a great way to track your progress as well as to learn how various environments, physical conditions and times of the day might affect your performance. Plus, whenever you feel down and unmotivated, you can take a look at your own records and remind yourself of how far you have come. Your running journal entries should include both objective and subjective details like the following:
- the distance run
- how long the run took
- how many breaks you took in between
- what the course was like
- your heart rates before and after the run
- your blood sugar levels before and after the run (if you're a diabetic)
- your body weight
- any ache and pain
- your feeling during and after the run
- any other factors that might have had affected your running, such as number of hours slept the night before, the weather, any sickness, etc
- assessment of progress towards your goal
If possible, write down the information within a few hours after your run to make sure you enter all accurate records.
Run and Socialize
There's nothing wrong with being a loner, but running with a buddy or a group of people usually turns out to be more beneficial in many ways. First of all, it's like shooting two birds with one stone. Working out and hanging out can be one same activity. Once you have someone to chat and laugh with along the way, your afternoon run might not be such an exhausting exercise anymore but a fun hobby. Second, it can shut up the little voice in your head. Every now and then, the little voice would tell you "Oh, you should take it easy today. You have had a long day already." If you run alone, it might be pretty easy to succumb to that temptation. However, when you know that someone is expecting you to be with them, it could motivate you to ignore that little voice and just keep your running schedule. And third, running with others usually helps you get more out of yourself. Not only will running partners offer you encouraging words during a run, but you're also more likely to push yourself harder to keep up with their performance.
Run in Paradise
Won't you agree that you tend to have a better dining experience if the restaurant is clean and charmingly decorated? It's basically the same way with running. Choosing where to run matters a great deal. So spend some time to find a place with the type of scenery that inspires you. If you love nature and quietness, a hiking trail near a river might be an ideal place to run. If you're a single guy, you might want to show off your muscular calves in a park where hot girls like to hang out. Or if you live not too far from an ocean, a morning run on the beach could be really pleasurable. You'd be surprised that something as simple as a beautiful sight can really strengthen your motivation.