You’ve started running, here’s how to carry on and make it a healthy habit!
Running is a great way to exercise, and entering a race like the Women’s 10K or Windsor Half Marathon is a fantastic way to keep going. But if you want to make running part of your everyday life, you need to ingrain the habit. Here are our favourite ways to make running part of your life – whether you’re training for a race or just running once a week.
#1 Choose Your Own Goals
Don’t let other people’s running goals swamp you. Choose a goal that means something to you – and feels achievable. You can always shelve the more ambitious running goals for next year. Be successful on your own terms. Start with a distance-per-month goal (40 miles?), a running frequency goal (3 times a week?), or a friendly race. The Windsor Half Marathon and the Women’s 10K are designed to be fun, friendly, and welcoming to first timers. See you there?
#2 Choose Running You Enjoy
There are many ways to enjoy running. You don’t have to head out on the roads. You could stick to off-road trails only, or playing fields, or footpaths. You don’t have to run on the flat – perhaps you actually prefer undulating hilly routes. Nobody says you have to run around the block. You could save running for days when you have enough time to visit beautiful countryside nearby. Maybe treadmill running is your favourite form of running. If you do the kind of running you enjoy, you’re more likely to stick with it. Any running is good for your health, your heart, your waistline, and your emotional wellness.
#3 Just Do It
At first, running regularly will feel strange – and may not feel easy. You’re not yet familiar with running being part of your weekly routine. But it’s the same as any new hobby. You need to plan it in, think about it, and stick to it. It will soon become second nature, and the thing you look forward to. But for now, make the effort. Use your “why” to connect with running on an emotional level, leverage your lifestyle factors to run at the best time of day, and stick with your plan.
#4 Make It Important
Running has to be a priority if it’s going to become a habit. We’re not saying it should suddenly overtake your work, your kids, your home, or your partner. But it can’t be constantly bottom of the heap. Make it important – and be sure to tell others how important it is to you, too. It doesn’t need to take hours out of your day. But that 30-45 minutes of exercise time is important – to your health, happiness, and wellbeing. Stick up for yourself. It’s not just running – it’s looking after yourself.
#5 Calendar Or Alarm
There will come a time when you won’t need a reminder for running. But in these early days, it can be easy to forget. So add it to your calendar, set up alerts on your phone, write it in the family wall planner – whatever it takes. This approach will ensure you are able to plan, and it shows others how important running is to you. Before long, you won’t have to think about your Monday-night run or your Saturday morning jog. But for now, help the habit bed in.
#6 Track Your Progress
Be sure to track your runs using a watch, app, or notebook – whatever works for you. Tracking is important. It helps you look back and monitor your progress. But it’s also really rewarding. If you don’t start tracking you’ll never be able to see how far you’ve come. It’s extra-motivating to keep a simple visual note of which days you ran. This can be as basic as a red dot on your daily wall calendar, or in your work diary. Seeing those red dots pile up is a great feeling. Track data like mileage, speed, pace, and how you felt. It can also be useful to keep a note of kit (like running shoes) so you know how many miles you’ve done in them.