Today I ran my fastest 10k! 3 months ago I know for a fact that I couldn’t hardly finish a 5k, let alone a 10k. Not to toot my own horn, but I am extremely proud of myself. I’ve aways wanted to develop a running habit, but I would pick it up for a month or two and always fall off. Before I knew it, I would be back in my old ways. Until recently.This article gives 8 ways that helped me to build a running habit in 3 months.
1. Start small
I started by running ONLY 20 minutes each day. Not a minute less, and not a minute more. I specifically chose this time because I knew that it would be easy for me. I wanted to eliminate as many obstacles as possible to completing the day’s run.
If I knew that I had to drag myself though a 10k on week 1 (even if I knew I could complete it), I would be dreading every run.
On the other hand, if I knew that week one was filled with a bunch of dinky 5, 10, or 15 minute runs then I would have been more likely to get out of bed. If you start small, then you’re more likely to “start”. And just that happened.
2. Run damn near everyday
In the past, I would go online and look up the most optimized and scientific running plan. It would have a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and a Sunday run. This never worked for me, and I thinks it’s because its too much thinking. There’s too many decision you have to make from the time you wake up until the time you run. You have to determine if you have to run today or not.
When I started this time I committed to six days a week. Saturday is the only day I don’t run. I wake up everyday and I know that it’s time to rock n roll. If I needed a “rest” day I would get up, go outside and walk for the same amount of time that I would’ve run.
This tip has absolutely nothing to do with performance and everything to do with building a running habit.
3. Change your perception of success
To this day, I struggle with changing my perception of a successful run. Every athletic wear or sports drink commercial has taught us that at the end of a workout you should be drenched with orange sweat. Wrong! Once again we are in the phase of building a habit. Performance doesn’t matter much. In the words of Outkast just “git up and git out”. If you start and you only finish 50% of what you wanted, it’s still a success.
4. Run in the morning
I know there is the whole early bird vs. night owl debate, but I truly believe that the best time to run is in the morning.
One reason is that running is 100% for YOU. Whether its to improve YOUR health, or make YOU look better, or help YOU raise money for that cause, it all benefits YOU. Therefore, I think its good to do something for YOU first thing in the morning.
I don’t know about you, but my day gets progressively busier as it goes on. If I say that I’m going to squeeze a run in it will not work. That’s not me being cynical; it just has happened to me on multiple occasions.
5. Minimize equipment
One of the beauties of running is that literally all you need is some sneakers and….well…anything but jeans. I run in some of my old Boy Scout Uniform shorts on a regular basis. If you find yourself making an excuse about running because of some gear… you are full of it. Don’t be one of those people that have to “suit up” to run a 5k.
6. Read books about running
I’ve never heard this tip recommended before, but I’ve read two books about people’s experiences with running in the last two months. It’s comforting to know that even people who’ve been running for years don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. Or that pain in running is a common thing and all of it isn’t the end of your short running career. [I’m not a medical professional; please see a doctor about any pain.].
7. Read books about habits
I wish that I could take the credit for my recent success with running but I have to say that one book in particular has truly impacted my journey: James Clear’s Atomic Habits. This book broke down habits in a way that I could never quite grasp before.
8. Track your progress
While I am “anti running gear”, I do think that tracking your runs in some way is pivotal for your success. Most people have smart phones and they can use those for the first few months. I’m fortunate that my beautiful girlfriend bought me a nifty Garmin GPS watch as a gift.
Tracking your progress will make your jaw drop at how simple it is to do things you never thought you could do. I always look at my first few weeks of running and think that I never thought that I would be here today.
Tracking my progress has been a huge motivator. Especially when it come to setting new goals.
So there you have it. My 8 tips for building a running habit. I just wanted to share my personal experience.
I want to cap this off by saying that I’m not a certified health professional. So if you are looking for health advice, I ‘m not the person. I’m just some guy on the internet. Please consult with the appropriate professional as needed.
If you would like to add to this list feel free to leave a comment below. Thank you for the support.