If “start running” was on your list of now-failed New Year’s resolutions, it might be time to reconsider. With the sweltering heat of summer behind us, Fall is here in force, bringing with it a kaleidoscope of changing colors and milder temperatures that are perfect for running outdoors. For the runner, it really doesn’t get much better than this. But what if you’re not a runner? You’ve been meaning to hit the pavement, but NASA has a better chance of getting to Mars before you check “Run a Marathon” off your life bucket list any time soon. If you’ve meant to start running, but can’t seem to find the motivation, time or energy to regularly workout, here are four tips to help you get out that door:
Find a plan and stick to it.
There are countless beginner running plans available on the Internet. Look for one that mixes walking with running, especially if you haven’t been running regularly for over a few weeks or months. These will usually gradually increase the amount of running while decreasing the amount of walking, so by the end of the plan, you can run continuously for a certain amount of time or distance, usually about 3 miles.
Sign up for a 5k.
At only 3.1 miles, the 5k is not too daunting, and a fantastic race for the beginner. Since most beginner running plans aim for 3 miles, you’ll already be training for the distance. Why not add to that satisfaction of running 3 miles by crossing a finish line? Knowing you need to actually finish a race in a few weeks will help you stick to your plan, and fall is 5k Season, so there should be no problem finding one near you.
Schedule your workout.
Literally. Put it on your calendar, planner, send yourself a reminder, sticky-note it to your computer, whatever. Instead of fitting your workout into your free time-time that you probably use for a million other things like checking email, catching up on work, maybe watching your favorite TV show you missed the other night-you actually block off time for it. By telling yourself you are busy then, you prioritize your workout and are more likely to get it done. Suddenly, running becomes something that is part of your daily schedule, rather than something you do when you have the time.
You’ve probably heard it before: choose a pace that is comfortable. But what does that even mean-comfortable? When you first start, running is anything but comfortable. And how can you “choose” a pace when every time you go for a run, you start too fast, get tired really quickly, you slow down, then suddenly you’re going too fast again? This is what makes running so horrible when you first start. How can you tell whether you’re going too fast or too slow? Listen to your breathing. You should be able to talk while running, and if you’re gasping for air, slow down.