6 Motivational Running Tips and Techniques for Beginners
Most people who have started an exercise program can tell you just how difficult it is to get started. Many times, people find that they just cannot summon up the motivation to get off their couch and start working out. When it comes to jogging, people have a long list of excuses they may try to employ:
- The weather is too hot or cold.
- I don't want to run alone.
- I don't have any running shoes.
- I hate waking up that early to exercise.
- I have no energy after work is over.
However when it comes down to it, these excuses are nothing more than empty reasons holding people back from getting in better physical condition. If any of the above excuses seem familiar to you and you still want to start jogging one day, the tips below should provide some welcome motivation.
Why do you run?
Think About the Health Benefits
If anything can get you motivated to start jogging, it should be the added health benefits that you can get from it. Even by devoting a small amount of time to exercising each week, you still have the opportunity to improve your muscle tone, bone density, and cardiovascular fitness.
According to the American Heart Association, for every hour spent walking or jogging you may actually increase your own life expectancy by two hours. On the flip-side, continuing to lead a non-active lifestyle can actually result in negative health consequences such as heart disease, stroke, and increased risk of certain cancers.
If you are still reluctant to start moving, here is a longer list of health positives that may sway you:
- Helps to lose weight or maintain a healthier weight level
- Speeds up metabolism allowing the body to burn more calories
- Increases muscle tone and bone density which leads to better posture
- Helps to fight against insomnia
- Relieves stress through the natural release of endorphins
- Reduces the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and osteoporosis
So before sitting back on the couch and putting off an afternoon jog for another day, ask yourself how you could actually hurting your chances of living a longer, healthier life.
Get a Running Partner
When you exercise alone, the chances of procrastinating or missing a workout completely tend to increase. It usually ends up being way to easy to just say, "I'll make up for that run tomorrow." Eventually, that tomorrow turns into next week and next week turns into next month. Before you know it, any positive gains that you previously obtained are gone.
One of the best ways to stay committed to jogging regularly is to get a running partner. By teaming up with a partner, you make yourself more accountable for your daily runs. Failing to get up to jog means that not only did you let yourself down, but you also let your fellow teammate down.
For some people, it is easier to get motivated for things when they feel as if they are working on it as a team. Fitness is no different. By having a running partner, you automatically have someone who can push you to be your best. It also gives you a support system for those days when you are sore and jogging is the last thing you feel like doing.
If running on your own has been holding you back, find a partner and push each other to success.
Do you have trouble pacing yourself when running alone?
Set Up a Jogging Schedule
To some extent, we are all creatures of habit. Whether it is getting ready to go to work in the morning or preparing our meals in the afternoon, we usually set up consistent routines to help us become more efficient at getting things done.
One of the difficulties with starting a new exercise program is that people often fail to set up a routine that will eventually turn into a long-term habit. Rather than scheduling exactly when and where they will jog for the week, people will start to rely on jogging solely "when they have time" or "when they feel like it". Usually those times become less and less frequent as time goes on.
In order to get started jogging, you should set up a schedule that not only tells you when you are going to run but also where you plan on going. Incorporating a firm routine has the following benefits:
- Assures that you have time set aside in your life for exercise.
- Turns exercise into a habit and not just an isolated event.
- Prevents you from accidentally booking another event on top of your runs.
- Keeps you organized, allowing you to simply enjoy the jogs with less stress.
Before you allow yourself to say you do not have time to jog, pull out a calendar or planner and make time for yourself.
Give Yourself a Guilt Trip
Sometimes it takes something a little bit stronger to make you want to get off your couch and get moving. If being healthy is not a big enough motivator for you, maybe a good old fashioned guilt trip will do the trick.
At some point, everyone needs shoes and clothes in order to go jogging. Eventually, you will hit this point as well. Make it a point to go shopping specifically for a new pair of running shoes and some shorts or sweats. They do not necessarily have to be expensive, but the effect may be better if there is a higher price associated with them.
Once you have the gear, lay it all out in an open area that you walk past every day. If possible, make sure that the price tags or receipt is in plain view as well. At some point, you should start to feel a sense of guilt creep in for spending so much money on something that you are not using. This feeling may kick in a lot sooner for some than others, but it should still kick in all the same.
Once the guilt hits, immediately put on the shoes and clothes and go jogging. Ultimately, you will feel a sense of relief and realize that getting your body in motion was not as difficult as you thought it would be.
Commit to an Event
Another way of preventing procrastination from taking hold is to register for an event like a local 5k or fun run. Usually events such as these are low pressure and filled with people who are more concerned with having a good time and less worried about breaking personal time records.
Registering for a 5k event in the near future can help you in a few ways. First, it will force you to make a commitment to jogging and getting in better shape. Once you send in the registration fee, you are locked in as a participant at the event. The only thing you can do at this point is start jogging in preparation for the big day. Of course, you could always bail out but what good would that do you in the long run?
The second thing entering a race does is gives you a goal. If you are just starting to jog, your goal may be to finish the event without walking. It might be to finish jogging within a certain time period. Or, it could even be to just show up and finish no matter how long it takes. No matter what the goal may be, you instantly have something to work towards and that should push you to get up and start moving.
The final benefit of registering for a race is that you will be surrounded by other people who are in the same situation as you. 5k races are often some of the most fun events in the running/jogging community. Take the time to meet others and enjoy the experience. You could end up meeting a new running partner, or find yourself wanting to enter a new race in the future.
Just Get Up and Go
The final piece of advice the one that anyone can follow. Just get up and start putting one foot in front of the other. It may start off as a slow walk, but eventually you will find yourself jogging. Over time, you may even start to run. While it may be hard in the beginning, the more often you jog you will begin to love it. Try not to over-think things, and definitely do not catch yourself waiting for the perfect time of year to start.
The perfect time is now, so get up and get going!