We all have good intentions when it comes to exercise, especially at the start of the new year. But as work, family, and your social life start edging their way onto your calendar, staying focused can get a little difficult. Here are a few tips that have helped keep me on the move:
1. Write down your running goals and keep track of your progress in a running diary. Seeing how far you’ve come is great motivation to keep going.
2. Plaster quotes, magazine ads and photos devoted to running around you, so when you’re not feeling motivated, there’s always reminders of why running is good for you.
3. When it’s time for your run, force yourself out the door. Once you’re outside, it’s much easier to make yourself hit the road. Even putting on your workout clothes can be enough to get you going.
4. Read lots of running magazines, which are full of information on anything from running workouts to nutrition, with stories about other runners in your community.
5. Start by building a base of running 20 minutes straight without stopping, then start doing running workouts such as tempo runs, hill runs, and fartlek runs. These specialized workouts will help you run faster.
6. When you’re about to end your run, challenge yourself to sprint the final minute or so. This will prepare you to dig deep for that finishing kick on race day.
7. Have a running mantra when workouts get tough. Mine is “I think I can, I know I can.”
8. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids and replenish your fuel after each workout. My personal favorite is my green shake: two celery sticks, 2 cups of spinach, ½ cup of boathouse fresh apple juice, ½ cup of orange juice, and protein powder. Not your cup of tea? Chocolate milk, nuts, and sports drinks can also be good post-run options.
9. It’s always good to do some cross training like yoga, strength training or something fun like capoeira. The goal is to build strength in your core muscles to prevent injury, and balance out training for other parts of your body that running doesn’t work out.
10. The idea of doing a long race can be pretty intimidating. To make your training more manageable, set small goals that lead up to your big goal. Be sure to reward yourself when you accomplish your small goals!