Running— you’ve thought about it, maybe even tried it and then decided it’s not for you. But, for some reason, you keep coming back around to it. Maybe it’s because of the extraordinary health benefits like immediate and long-term weight loss, reduced risk of cancer and heart disease or adding years to your lifespan

It’s no secret running can significantly improve your physical health, but it can also enhance your mental health:

  • Get a mood boost from happiness hormones known as endocannabinoids.
  • Improve mental sharpness, clarity and cognitive functioning.
  • Reduce stress with an influx of serotonin— the hormone that helps us calm down and relax.
  • Gain confidence as you break through physical and mental barriers.

It’s likely that all these benefits are drawing you back to running, but you keep hitting roadblocks. First, it’s important to understand three things:

  • Everyone stumbles when they start a running plan (even seasoned runners).
  • Making life changes— even positive ones— is hard.
  • Failure is just an opportunity to try a little harder.

Sometimes starting up a running habit and keeping it going requires a little help. From Fitness Planning Consultants, here are a few ways you can inspire, encourage and empower yourself to leave the couch in your dust.

Get the right gear

You won’t run if you are uncomfortable. Wearing the right shoes for the terrain you are running— road, trail or both— can help prevent discomfort and energy when you’re pounding the pavement. While shoes are the most important, don’t forget about other accessories, like a hydration pack to easily carry water, reflective lights if you’re out in the dark and moisture-wicking clothes. Also, if you’re motivated to podcasts or music, get yourself a reliable pair of headphones. Regardless of whether you like traditional headphones or earbuds, chances are there’s an option that’s perfect for you.

Track your progress

To be honest, tracking and analyzing your runs is one of the most addictive parts of becoming a runner. There are a lot of tracking options out there that range from very basic to extraordinarily detailed. You can use an app on your phone that tracks your distance and pace with your phone’s GPS. Many of these apps, like MapMyRun, Runtastic and Runkeeper are free. You can get really detailed with a tracking watch from Garmin, Fitbit or Apple. 

Follow a training plan

Schedule your runs into your day as you would any other task, errand or activity you need to accomplish. And while it’s always good to get out there and just do something, following a training plan can help you improve your speed and distance— and seeing improvement is the number one motivator to keep you going. There are a lot of good training plans out there you can follow as-is or customize. Just make sure to choose one that fits into your lifestyle. If it’s not reasonable, you’re more likely to let it go.

Make running mentally stimulating

Like everything that becomes a habit, it can also become a routine. While routines are good, sometimes they become boring. Make sure your running routine stays exciting by mixing things up. First, run in different locations. A new environment can be a great way to unleash your inner explorer. Next, run with a music playlist that really jams, a podcast that you love or an audiobook that you can’t wait to find out what happens next. Also, try running with a group. You’ll push yourself harder with others around helping you stay accountable to your goals.

Tackling a 5K is a serious effort, and if you’re ready to train, there’s no time like the present. Make sure you have the right gear, motivation and a plan and you’ll be crossing the finish line before you know it. 

Ready to take your fitness to the next level? Contact Fitness Planning Consultants for a free consultation.

Today’s post was contributed by Anya Willis. For most of her childhood Anya struggled with her weight. In school, she was bullied because of it, and it wasn’t until she took a yoga class in college that things started to change. Anya now uses her knowledge and love for yoga to help kids find physical activities to keep them happy and moving.

Photo by Pixabay