If the racing bug hasn’t bitten you, there’s no need to worry about your long-term commitment to running. There are plenty of other areas you can focus on and still be fitter, faster, and healthier than ever before. In fact, taking a step back from racing from season to season gives your body a chance to recover from lots of miles or fast workouts or mental burnout.
Alternatively, you may also build mileage to prepare for an upcoming season. Basically, if you’ve hit some sort of no man’s land and don’t know which direction to take — you just need to pick one and stick to it. It’s that simple, right?
Yeah. Consistency is aspect of my running routine that I regularly struggle with — goal in mind or not. Since I don’t have any major races on the plan for the next several months, I’ve decided that working on my consistency is the best target for me right now. So far, it’s working out well.
Here are some things that have helped me meet my mark.
- Choose a plan wisely. One that blends your usual or desired weekly mileage with a varied lot of workouts (a couple easy runs, a quality speed session, and a long run over 1 hour). Think about the number of days per week you can realistically commit to running. The key here is keeping everything attainable and honest, yet also challenging. If you set crazy expectations, you’re only hurting yourself and your motivation levels.
- Post a physical reminder. on your wall or on your computer’s desktop. I typically print off my plan and hang it up on the refrigerator with a pen dangling next to it to cross off each day. In the past, I’ve even set calendar reminders for mid-afternoon lulls so I get an extra dose of energy.
- Consider shifting your run time. As much as I’m an evening runner, there have been times when running in the morning has just made more sense. Getting workouts out of the way for the day — before the grind gets to you — keeps excuses at bay and you’ll likely complete more of your plan this way.
- If at first you don’t succeed, reevaluate. I can’t stress this enough, we all need to be honest with ourselves when it comes to our training. I get carried away and overshoot my own ability and time quotients. If you find you’re just not able to run, say, 6 days at week with lots of miles — try a slightly less intense program.
- If you’re bored — again — reevaluate. On the flip side, if you don’t feel challenged, you may also be more prone to skipping workouts. At least that’s my experience. Bump up to a plan or blend of plans that keeps you interested. It may be as simple as switching up one of your weekly workouts.
- Enlist a running buddy for help. If long runs are difficult for you to hit each week, try jogging with a friend. Same goes with those pesky easy runs that, at times, feel worthless. Each workout has a purpose, so if you’re routinely missing one, a friend can help. It makes the whole experience more pleasurable, while also making you more accountable.
Written by Ashley Marcin.