Back in 2006, I was not a runner. I had spent six years studying hard in college to become a physical therapist with little focus on my own personal fitness. When I realized the irony of being out of shape while helping others get back into shape, I decided to make a change. Within the next year, I started running and registered for my first 5k race. Soon after that race, I became hooked, signing up for multiple distance races and I'm proud to say I'm still running to this day.
Running truly is a sport for everyone, regardless of shape, age, and gender. And you don't have to be a marathoner to be considered a runner. If you run, you're runner. All it takes is one step and the dedication to being consistent and you will make progress. That said, it can be difficult to stay motivated as a beginner.
Here are a few things that helped my running motivation in the beginning — and continue to keep me on track:
- Run for time not number of miles. Running for 30 minutes instead of 3 miles takes the pressure off pace and goals. It allows you to enjoy the time rather than focusing on a set number of miles. You're also more likely to run by feel, which helps you to run longer than if you gun it right out of the gate.
- Set multiple alarms on your smartphone. The great thing about having a smartphone is you can set multiple custom alarms for a run. You can set it to say, “get out of bed” or “be inspired.” You can set as many alarms as you need to get you out the door.
- Sign up for a race. Nothing keeps you motivated to run like training for a race. No matter the distance, following a training plan will help you focus on getting in your runs.
- Join a local running club. By meeting others that are motivated to run, you will be more likely to stay committed. Also, most clubs have scheduled weekly workouts that will help you plan your runs for the week.
- Buy new running gear. Nothing says “RUN” like a shiny new pair of sneakers. If you find running in the cold or rain difficult, a sweet new hat or pair of compression leggings may be the motivation you need to get out there.
As you embark on the spring challenge, these tips can help keep you motivated and on the road. What are some tips you have for beginner runners to stay motivated?
Written by Danielle Bressoud. Danielle is a licensed physical therapist, practicing for 7 years, and running addict living in Massachusetts with her husband and son.
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