Running into the new year. I, among many, end the old year thinking; how I can make the coming one better? I can't say I'm usually always been very 'resolute' with my 'New Year's Resolution.' (Mmm junk food!) Running is one spot I feel like I'm usually pretty consistent. After having run for well over a decade at this point, I have fallen in and out of shape way more times than I can count. Here are 4 things that help me keep on track: Realistic Expectations for yourself. If your friend just finished a half-marathon congratulate them, it's ok you're not there. If that is something you want to do, you'll get there just not immediately. Running can be hard to do especially at first and it might not be your starting point especially if haven't done a lot of running before. If that's the case it's better to start slowly and get your cardio training in other ways, it can often be better to walk, use a treadmill or Elliptical. A machine will give you instant feedback about the distance you've gone and calories burned. At first, keeping at it is the only thing that matters.
Routine makes all the difference. I'm a morning runner, I often tell people that 'it's way better than coffee' and I personally like seeing the world coming alive in the morning. It wakes you up and gets you going! I know that not everyone is a morning person (believe me I've tried too often to cheerily greet people before nine) only to encounter the "I haven't had my coffee yet" stare. For me it's important to have a time of day to run, if I don't, it simply isn't going to happen. Many people workout at lunch and I've seen them while grabbing lunch with coworkers. I personally find it's not enough time. If that is when you can find time, go for it! A lot of people like exercising in the evening after work, I get it, especially after a stressful day. People can over do it here: take at least a few days off a week.
Goals are so important. If you haven't run before and are working up to running, that can be your first goal. Or if you have just started running, I don't think shooting for a marathon is doable in a couple of months, but shooting for a 5K (≈ 3.1 miles) in a couple of weeks is a great idea. It really makes a difference for me, if I have an end goal, it can be the difference between getting up or just lying around 'just a little bit' longer. I also think starting with a shorter race can help you figure out if you like running and maybe longer races are for you.
Rewards I feel like so many people forget this one (except if it's a chocolate ad). If you're keeping to your routine doing some kind of cardio exercise for 20-25 minutes, give yourself a reward for me it's eating something, I personally love BBQ, or give yourself a day off. You've been making the effort to get more active take some time to celebrate!
Happy Running into the new year!