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All passionate runners agree that in addition to its unquestionable fitness and health benefits, running is simply pure joy. It is a healthy addiction that once you taste, you simply can’t quit! In spite of all that some runners, especially beginners, are struggling to run consistently.
While that would seem like a dilemma for some of you, the solution is quite simple: self-motivation. This article discusses unconventional self-motivation tips that can make running as easy as brushing your teeth. Enjoy!
So Why Do You Run in The First Place?
All renowned peak performance specialists agree that it’s not enough to set goals. You need to fully understand WHY accomplishing these goals is important to you. If you managed to create enough compelling reasons for running, you will have every motive to follow through. It’s not enough to have some vague reasons in your mind! That never works with goal setting.
You MUST write down your own unique reasons after asking yourself some thought-provoking questions.
For example, you may ask yourself “Why do I need to run consistently?” some of the typical answers may include:
“I hate being a slob!”, “I don’t want to turn into a sofa in few months!”, “I love myself enough to care for my own well-being“, you name it!
Believe or not. By just taking this simple step, you are already half way through turning running into a habit. However, for this tip to work its magic, you need to CONSTANTLY remind yourself of your compelling reasons for running.
It’s a good idea to read your list everyday in the morning. I bet that if you do so, you can kiss you couch potato days goodbye forever!
Find a Success Model
Success is Reaching Your Goals While ENJOYING Every Step of The Way
Are there any running legend(s) that you admire? If so, take the time to read their biography, keep their picture where you can always see it, and follow up their news if possible. When you read about your running heroes, make sure to dig for their success recipe. You may find information about when/how long they used to train and get a clear sense of their level of commitment and self-discipline.
Surrounding yourself with constant reminders of your running role models will inspire you to follow their tracks and hey, remember, if they can do it, you can do it! It’s that simple.
Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Now that you figured out the “why”, it’s time to decide the “what”.
What are your running goals?
If your answer is I want to be a run regularly, that’s not good enough!
You need to set a S.M.A.R.T. goal: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Tangible
Let me clarify this with an example:
Instead of deciding to set a new personal record in an upcoming 10K road race, set a specific goal to improve on your current personal record by 10 seconds in the next 6 months. If you want to sky-rocket your motivation, avoid the “I’ll do later at some point” language and set a realistic deadline.
Moreover, you can’t jump from a 10-meter high board if you don’t know how to swim! Running is no exception. However, many runners, especially beginners, get fired up with enthusiasm to run rigorously to the extent that they exhaust themselves and in worse cases fall prey to running injuries! Slowly but surely is your key to running consistently.
In other words, run at your own pace, take baby steps and set realistic goals that you can follow. Gradually, your fitness level will improve and your rate will increase accordingly.
Create a M.A.P. (Massive Action Plan)
Goal setting remains useless words on paper until you figure out the exact steps you MUST take towards its realization.
Again write them down. Decide exact running dates/times and specific phases to build up your running capacity.
For example, you may increase your running duration gradually. Don’t “should” all over yourself: what you make a must is what will eventually happen. Otherwise, running consistently could easily move become number infinity on your priority list!
How Am I Doing So Far? Monitor Your Progress!
Flexibility is a key factor in accomplishing your goals and I don’t mean here physical flexibility. I mean being flexible enough to tweak and modify your strategy if needed in order to reach your desired outcome. Flexibility requires constant monitoring of your progress. You may be surprised that you are improving much faster than your anticipated rate. In this case, it is a good idea to raise the bar and challenge yourself even more. In the opposite case, it is advisable to slow down and take your time.
A training log is indispensable to any serious runner as it facilities the monitoring process. Your log will include running distances, times, weather, pulse rate, and more. It goes without saying that keeping track of your running workouts will help you learn from your past mistakes and refine your technique along the way. Here are some tips on maintaining your own running log!
Adding the “fun factor” to any activity is by far the most effective way to turn it into a habit.
But what does FUN mean to you?
To some people it would mean listening to your favourite music while running. To others it would mean running with a friend or a group. While some people prefer sticking to a single running route, many runners find that exploration and changing routes makes running more enjoyable.
If you are competitive, than races maybe what you need to feel the running rush and get motivated to exercise your full potential. Are a gym person or a nature lover? Do you enjoy other cross training activities like swimming and aerobics? Just figure what works best for you and go for it.
Give Yourself a Tab on the Shoulder for a Job Well Done
This is a no-fail tip: set a realistic yet somewhat challenging running goal and decide on a generous reward to give yourself upon accomplishing it as your way of saying: “well done!”
Be very clever about choosing the reward. It should be something you really enjoy like going out with friends or watching a movie, you name it! The beauty of this technique is that it creates one of my favourite words in the English dictionary: MOMENTUM! Once you give yourself your first reward, the sky is your limit!