Get your running habit started right with this time-tested advice.
1. Keep yourself accountable
Setting goals is a given, but sticking to them is another thing altogether. After setting your goal for the new year—completing a race, running three days a week or losing a certain amount of weight—tell people about it, either by confiding in another person or announcing it on social media.
2. Get some good gear
Running’s start-up costs are minimal, but a good pair of running shoes and functional apparel are worth the investment. Getting the right gear will not only solidify your commitment, it will also make running much more enjoyable.
3. Start a training log
Whether it’s a blank notebook where you can jot down the details of your workouts or phone apps like MapMyRun and RunKeeper, having a record of your training helps track your progress as a runner. Plus, it can keep you motivated to continue pursuing your goals.
4. Get outside
The first few months of the year can be challenging for many runners, but running outdoors can be more motivating than running in place on a treadmill—not that there’s anything wrong with that either! Seek new routes and vary your terrain to keep things fun, interesting and challenging.
5. Find a friend
If you’re scared to start a running program or are worried about staying committed to it, find one or two close friends to join you in your new pursuit. In addition to the accountability of meeting someone else for a run, going on a journey is exciting and rewarding when you can share it with others.
6. Do more than just run
Do core strength work regularly and mix some cross-training into your workout routine by taking a spin class, going to boot camp or swimming. It will help lessen the likelihood of injury and make you a more well-rounded athlete.
7. Vary the pace and location of your runs
Only by running a variety of paces and types of runs will you see continued improvement in your fitness. And mixing up your runs between roads, trails and the track will keep you inspired.
8. Reward yourself
Whether it’s treating yourself to coffee and a treat after your workout or planning a vacation around a race, complement your running goals with something to look forward to in addition to your run.
9. Remember: It’s a process
It’s easy to get frustrated in the early stages of a running program. Every runner experiences highs and lows along the way. However, remind yourself to enjoy the process of discovering what you can do every time you lace up your running shoes.