This easy guide will help you get started with your running routine. Find out how to start running when you don’t feel like it. How to keep yourself motivated and keep going strong even when you don’t feel like it.
When you’re starting your fitness journey, it can be tough to get out there and run. Even if you’re a runner, it can be hard to feel motivated enough to lace up those shoes every day. But running is a simple way to improve your health and happiness — so how do you stay motivated when you don’t want to? For nine things that will motivate you to start running when you don’t feel like it, see this article.
Fitness isn’t all about looking incredible
Running is not about having killer abs or having a perfectly rounded butt. There are substantial health benefits to running, and your body can use a bit of extra love.
Check out five below:
- When you run, the blood flow to your legs increases, and your muscles and joints get the blood flowing to help with circulation and relaxation. This helps lighten your mood and decreases anxiety and stress. We won’t go into other benefits but running, and its benefits make it a great mental exercise.
- When you run, you are giving your body a stress release. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol which helps with higher memory and attention function, lowers blood pressure and serotonin production, which increases mood.
- For the first 20 days, if you work out at least three days a week, you’ll be able to see a steady and significant drop in stress hormones. This can help reduce your heart rate and increase energy levels.
- Hitting the gym or hitting the pavement won’t fix what’s wrong with you, but it’s smart to get some movement in your life so you can make changes that will make a difference. And exercise doesn’t have to be a strenuous workout. Running can be easy or super easy, but whatever it takes to get moving, it will help.
- Many people run because it seems fun, and they get a dopamine rush or reward. But when this happens, you must keep running and encourage your brain to keep running by sticking to the habit. If you constantly find yourself put off by a long run or don’t feel like it, you can start with shorter runs or complete one day a week.
How to start running
Running has been linked to a range of positive changes in the brain. The entire body vibrates when we Exercise and releases endorphins – chemicals made in our bodies that give us a happiness boost. Running also pulls us away from stressful situations, such as work or school, and puts us into a state of optimal performance: focused and energized. The effects of exercise extend well beyond your muscles and skin. Being physically active leads to an increased likelihood of being a healthy person over time and can help support your happiness in the here and now. So what are nine things that will motivate you to start running?
1. Set a goal for yourself
It may sound silly to set a goal for running, but making a schedule for yourself can help motivate you to succeed. And it’s a better idea than trying to force your way through a workout. If you’re not moving, your muscles won’t be firing on all cylinders, which could reduce gains in size and strength. You need to find what works for you. Many successful people have found that simply setting a daily target allows them to hit the gym without guilt or struggle. Instead of wasting time wondering what to do next or worrying about completing tasks on time, they move along toward their goal each day.
First thing in the morning, set a goal for completing a run or ride in the morning. Make that a ritual. Runners are more likely to drop out of the habit of running if they don’t have a set goal. Research shows that the best way to beat an addiction is to track your progress regularly and set small goals. Start with a single mile or kilometer (the smallest distance that seems big enough). As you get more confident and eventually finish a race, increase the distance covered.
My personal experience
I’d like to share my experience on how to set a goal for running. I’ve been running occasional strides for several years, about 1-2 mph. But recently, something interesting started to happen. As I’ve grown more comfortable (and faster) running on my own, my injury rate has decreased. And I think this is because, even though I’m running harder and longer, my body isn’t as sore when I end my run as it was during the beginning.
I’ve always wanted to attend a marathon but never had the chance. That changed last year when my friend convinced me to try out for the San Francisco Marathon. Running is one of the most incredible forms of exercise, and becoming an accomplished marathon runner is something I am extremely passionate about. Reaching my goals has helped me realize how much I love living life and that giving 100% goes beyond just being comfortable. Being able to conquer any obstacle is possible when you have the goal in mind.
2. Find a running buddy
Running can be boring, which is why most people feel like they can’t stick with it. Having a running buddy or group can be a huge help. You’ll be able to keep each other motivated, accountable and have a built-in support system to talk to if you’re feeling down.
People often find themselves paralyzed by fear of running. They worry they aren’t strong enough, can’t get enough rest, or won’t be able to find the right place to run. Seeing fellow runners slump in recent days has helped me realize there is nothing to be afraid of – running is a fantastic way to meet new people, challenge yourself physically and learn new skills, all while raising money for charity and promoting positive social change.
What kind of running buddy do I need?
In general, you want someone willing to help you at any given moment with whatever its running aspect is. For example, if you’re running on the treadmill and need help getting off, you need someone there right then and there. Likewise, if you need help climbing a certain amount of stairs or running a certain distance, you want someone there to give you verbal or physical encouragement as needed. Your running buddy shouldn’t be a cult member or require your services for grooming. As long as you aren’t breaking the law (and if you are, then feel free to run away), you shouldn’t have any problems finding a buddy who’s up for some weekly running session.
3. Listen to music or audiobooks while you run
Music is a great way to keep yourself motivated while you’re working out. If you find yourself getting bored, then switch to audiobooks or podcasts.
Listening to music is an easy way to boost your mood and help you Start Running. Listening to music while running has been shown to increase heart rate, lower stress, and make you happier while running. Just as eating healthy food can help you lose weight and improve your general health, listening to music while running can improve your workout. Listen to your music and get into a relaxed mindset, and everything will go smoother.
Listening to music has been shown to boost mood and promote physical activity. Research shows that listening to music releases endorphins, a chemical compound that makes us feel good. And besides, it’s fun! Why not take advantage of these mood-enhancing effects and try something new that relieves stress in your life?
4. Run in the morning or late at night
Running in the morning or late at night is a great way to keep your weight under control. If you run in the morning, you’ll work off the calories you’ve eaten the night before. In case you run at night, you’ll burn off the calories from the food you eat on the run home.
If sleeping in and skipping breakfast wasn’t enough, running can help you fall asleep much better than you would with just sitting or sleeping. This is because you’re forcing your body to work harder, says Chris Hale, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist at the University of California, Irvine: “The body doesn’t want to get out of breath,” he says. And, as you run, your heart rate slows down. All of these factors work together to make it harder for you to fall asleep.
According to Hale, most people who seek out running fall asleep faster than they have in the past.
Sometimes, you don’t need an excuse to run. Many people took up running because they had nowhere else to go. If you need to get moving for whatever reason — including going into battle with depression — Hale recommends getting out there and exploring your options. If your health or safety is at risk, you should talk to a professional about your options before going for a run.
Running is diverse and adaptable
Whether you’re looking to challenge your cardiovascular system or your agility, or you want to improve the way you look, all runners can benefit from this mindful movement.
Evening workouts can be hard to fit in during the working days of the working mom when you’re trying to balance a job and a family. But Courtney Karalus, an exercise physiologist at the University of Exeter, England, has some suggestions for making the most of those late nights during the week.
During the day, she recommends spending at least 10 to 20 minutes stretching and washing your hands before brushing your teeth and putting on deodorant.
5. Use the Fartlek method of running to break up your routine
To mix things up and help you get out of a running rut, try out the Fartlek method. The Fartlek method is a workout technique that uses intervals of high and low-intensity running to keep things interesting and help you break out of a workout rut.
Here’s how it works:
The hot hand starts the workout. As you get into the low-intensity interval, increase the pace as fast as you can. After a minute or two, ease off the gas. The hot hand keeps your body working at a high level the entire time. The low hand is the recovery run — you slow down, so your body is still warm, but you aim to keep your heart rate at a more manageable level. The low hand is shorter — about 1 minute per mile.
Constant movement doesn’t have to happen indoors. Running outside is a great way to work on mobility and build your strength, but it can be a bit tricky to find a wide-open space to run in, depending on where you live. Getting lost can mean you skip a workout altogether, and there’s nothing like having a turnaround point.
Here are some tips when running in unfamiliar spaces
Get a friend or partner. Find an open piece of terrain where you can both keep up a solid pace — and where you’ll get a little exercise in while you take a break.
Start at the same spot. Although sometimes fast and flowing with the hot hand can make it fun and exciting, navigating through potholes and road junctions can be hit or miss. If you’re in the same spot every time, it can get monotonous and frustrating.
At the same time, no matter how many times you run the same route, learning the route on your own can be beneficial. Also, being able to track progress along your route usually helps keep you in the running.
Don’t forget about your goal.