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8 Tips for Starting (or Restarting) a Running Routine

Running has been a regular part of my exercise routine for several years. There have been seasons where I have been consistent and seasons where running has taken a back seat to life. Nevertheless, I keep coming back to the exhilaration of having miles under my legs. Here are 8 tips for starting, or restarting, a running routine.
  1. Discover Your Why.
    Why do you want to start running? Most of the time we start with the results: fitting into our clothes, better health, relieving stress, creating an image, etc. Dig deeper! Why do you want to have those results? If you are running for health, why do you want to be healthier? Do you want to be healthier to have more time with your kids? Do you want to be healthier in order to have more energy throughout the day? Do you want to be healthier in order prolong life? If you don’t know your “why” you won’t be able to sustain the habit when your body doesn’t seem to want to run or your schedule becomes over crowded.
  2. Pick a Time.
    If you make running part of your regular routine it will make it easier to become a habit. If it is just one of the items on your task list, it will most likely be pushed to tomorrow. If running is a regular appointment on your calendar you will be less likely to procrastinate. I have found that early morning works best for me. If my run isn’t the first thing I do in the morning it doesn’t get done.
  3. Plan Ahead.
    The hardest part of the run is the distance from my bed to my shoes. Once I get moving the rest of the routine takes care of itself. This means that I have to plan ahead. If I don’t prepare the night before it’s easy to make excuses while I am laying in bed after I turn my alarm off. Preparing means having my gear ready to go and getting to bed early to be well rested.
  4. Choose Goals That Can’t Be Faked.
    Only you know what will challenge you. Are you running for distance, time, or both? I need to have a race on the calendar and it needs to be a challenging distance.
  5. Get Miles Under the Legs.
    It is suggested that a person runs one to two minutes slower than race pace. There will be days you feel great after a run only to discover that your pace wasn’t what you intended. There will be days the run feels awful, surprisingly your pace will be great. Our feelings are a mixed bag. Mileage doesn’t have feelings. Mileage is mileage regardless of how you feel. The important things is just to get miles under your legs.
  6. Wear the Right Gear.
    I grew up playing soccer. All the running I ever did was in cleats or indoor soccer shoes. When I started running for sport my wife encouraged me to get actual running shoes. This was a game changer! Secondly, learn to know how many layers to wear in your context. Dressing too warm is a miserable experience. Finally, please wear safety gear (Headlamp, reflector vest, etc). I typically run in the dark and wear safety gear. It is surprising how many cars do not see me. I can’t imagine the danger I would be in without the reflectors.
  7. Find Accountability.
    Our first husky, Kona helped me get into the habit of early morning running. I had a choice. Let him whine in the mornings and wake up the baby. In which case my wife would be upset with me and the dog. The better option, get out of bed and take him for a run. Get someone, or a dog, to run with.
  8. Keep Going.
    Most likely it won’t go as planned. The weather will act up. There will be construction our your route. Your shoes won’t fit just quite right. The project is taking a little more time. Keep going, you can do this!
One last thing. Often we think it will be easier to start tomorrow. However, the longer you wait to start something, the more the more energy it takes to get it going. That means the longer it takes to start something, the less likely it will actually happen.
“The problem with waiting until tomorrow is that when it finally arrives, it is called today.” — Jim Rohn
What is your best running tip?

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