A fresh new year also means new years resolutions. If your Facebook newsfeed is anything like mine, it’s overflowing with posts and articles about goals and strategies to make sure this year will be the year.
Uh okay, cool. No pressure.
Now I think that’s all fine and dandy. I’m all for ingraining healthy habits and setting goals, and I strongly and honestly believe it’s never too late to change. There are many reasons to run and just as many incentives to stay fit. Today, I want to share with you how I stay motivated and on track when it comes to running.
- Plan out your workout schedule for the entire month. It can be as strict or as loose as you’d like. I prefer a loose set of guidelines (for ex, I plan to run 12 miles this Saturday and again on Sunday) to make sure I hit the right mileage for the week, while still having enough flexibility to make it fun (I get to choose when and where I run). Be sure to schedule breaks or “off days” as well. Recovery is just as important as training hard, and you don’t want to burn out your body or mind. Plus, allowing for off days allows you to push harder (“If I run today and tomorrow, I can take Friday off.”).
- Lay out your workout clothes and equipment, so they’re ready when you plan to exercise. Mine is all set up for me when I get home tonight, so I can quickly slip into them and get out the door before I even realize I’m going for a run. This simple but vital step saves you time and energy. You don’t need to hunt for your Belaga socks, your Garmin GPS watch, or anything; it’s all ready for you to take for a spin. Any energy you spend deciding on what to wear, what route to run, or what mileage to tackle means less energy and time for your actual workout.
- Trick yourself. We all have those moments where we don’t feel like working out, when we’ve had a long, taxing day and we think we deserve a break. Yes, you’ve already planned out your monthly workout schedule and have your Nike thermal gear eagerly waiting for you, but you think to yourself, “Wouldn’t it be nice to just lay on the couch for just a minute and relax?”
You will always feel better after a workout. You will feel more productive, more accomplished, and more proud of yourself. Logically, you know that (of course you do!), but the sofa is just so darn tempting! So here’s what you do: you compromise and tell yourself you will run 1 mile. Just one. Who doesn’t have time for one measly mile?
But let me tell you: 99 times out of 100, I will exceed that 1 mile. I will realize how silly it is to get dressed and stretch and everything for just 1 mile, and oh, what the heck, what is a few more miles. When you get back to your couch, you will realize it wasn’t that hard after all and what were you whining about anyway? And that, my friends, is how you knowingly trick yourself into working out. And if you don’t exceed that 1 mile, that’s perfectly fine too. One mile is infinitely better than 0. Plus, you didn’t break your momentum, so it will be 10x easier to pick up where you left off tomorrow.
That’s it. Those are my secrets. Which really aren’t secrets at all. #1 and #2 are about preparation and #3 is about mustering up a teeny bit of motivation and challenging yourself to take it further.
I also believe that because one technique works for someone doesn’t mean it will work for someone else. So I encourage you to give them a try and see what works best for you. Good luck and let me know how it goes!
If you have any tips and tricks to staying motivated, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!