It’s late January and you’re starting to make progress on the fitness goals you made for the New Year. If you’ve decided to rededicate yourself to running (or take it seriously for the first time), I’ve got some advice to keep you motivated through the early parts of your training.
If you can make it through the first eight weeks, you’ll be fueled by your success and it will all be downhill (and uphill and downhill) from there!
- Choose wisely. As you’re making fitness plans for the New Year, search online for races you might want to incorporate into your fitness plan. Many local running stores will feature a calendar of races that they professionally time or sponsor. You can browse this list and find a location or fundraising cause that speaks to you. I always pick the races that benefit animal shelters and rescue organizations because they generally allow runners to bring their dogs. You can also save money by signing up early, especially for more expensive races like half and full marathons.
- Going the distance. If you’re working toward increased distance, choose a 5K to train for that is however many weeks you’ll need to get ready. Once you tackle that, you might want to pick a 10K that is several more weeks away and start training for that distance. I recommend trying races of varying distances so you can know your favorite distance. I thought that a 5K was best for me until I ran a 10K and found it to be a fun challenge. After running two half-marathons, I still think my favorite is the 10K. The more you run, the better you’ll be able to judge what you might enjoy.
- Get social. Many running stores feature social runs on different nights of the week. Attend a few of these and you’ll have an excellent pool of runners from which to learn techniques and tricks. Pair up with some seasoned runners and find out how they overcome challenges and set goals. You’ll gain valuable insight and you might even make a few new friends along the way. Side note: it’s always more fun to attend a race with a few people you know, even if you don’t run together the whole time. The post-race carb dinners and high-fives at the finish line are a great way to share your success.
- Don’t get discouraged. Life does tend to get in the way of running sometimes. A pipe will burst. Your yard will need mowing. A buddy will make an unexpected visit. It’s inevitable that your plans will be thwarted and you’ll miss a scheduled workout. Don’t let one missed run throw your entire plan off course. Let it slide and get right back on track; you probably won’t even notice any consequences of the brief respite in your training.
- Diversify. If all you’re doing is running, you’re doing it wrong. I made the mistake of thinking I should run long distances every day. Cross train with walking (which works different muscles than running), swimming, aerobics and weight training. By building muscle and focusing on different muscle groups, your running will improve more dramatically than by only running.
Look around online for a running schedule that works for you. Many of them make a 5K the midpoint of training for a 10K, and a 10K the midpoint of training for a half marathon. Incorporate incremental race distances like this to better gauge how you’ll do in longer races, if you chose to do them at all. Not everybody is meant to run a marathon, so be flexible in your goals as you train and leave room for adjustment. Remember to incorporate proper nutrition while you train and on race day by making products like 24K™, Innergize!® and ProVantage® with LunaRich® part of your plan.