Five Ways To Get Into A Running Habit in 2020
Last year, after years of procrastination, I decided to get into a running habit in 2019.
I started on December 28, 2018 unable to run a half mile, but by the time of this writing in November 2019, I’ve run two four milers, a 10K, a 15K, a half-marathon, and my first-ever full marathon.
Here’s how I did it and how you can too!
Number one: Decide you can and you will.
This is perhaps the most important part. Until you decide that you can run and that you will make running a habit, then your plan won’t work. Why? Because there will be times when you feel like you can’t do it. You’ll feel too out of shape, too tired, too busy, too sore, etc. There will be other times when you don’t feel like it and if you only do it when you feel like it, you won’t do it.
Number two: Pick a (realistic) goal race
There are probably countless organized races in your area. Marathons, half-marathons, 5Ks, trail runs, obstacle course races, you name it. Signing up for one in the future gives you something to work toward. You don’t want it to be too far out because then you’ll feel like you have plenty of time to get started. But if it’s too close, it’s an unrealistic goal and you risk giving up or pushing through to the point of injury.
One of the most popular “beginner” running programs is a nine-week program called “Couch to 5K”. Based on that timeline, a race 9-12 weeks out is a good goal. Most 10K and half-marathon training plans want you to have a solid base of running 2-3 miles without stopping. So for those races, I recommend 14-16 weeks out. If you decide to start your running habit on January 1st, then you can realistically run a 5 or even a 10K in early Spring. You may even be able to run a half-marathon in late Spring, early Summer.
Number three: Figure out the days and time of day to run
Depending on your existing life schedule, running in the morning, daytime or evening will make the most sense. This doesn’t mean that it won’t require sacrifice on your part, but it just means you need to figure out what requires the least amount of sacrifice. Personally, 5am runs work best for me. I’m able to run and get back home while my husband and toddler are still in bed. For others, evening runs after work are the best time of day. Of course you can change it around depending on your needs for the week, but having a general idea just gives you one less thing to think about week to week, and day to day. Plus, once you figure out what days/times work for you, it will be easier to stick with your plan.
Number four: Find an accountability partner or group
This is a big one for me. I don’t think I would have made running a habit this year without my running groups: Moms Run This Town and Black Girls Run. Both are free social clubs built around running “meetups”. There are other running groups that have a fee, but they come with coaches and individualized training in a group setting. Perhaps your spouse or best friend or neighbor could be your running partner. Regardless, it’s easier to get out of the door – especially initially – when you know someone is waiting for you to join them for a run.
Number five: Keep track of the miles
Search your app store of choice and you will find tons of great options that will help you keep track of the miles you’ve run. I use RunKeeper and the activity app on my Apple Watch/iPhone. This may be a personality preference, but I insist on tracking my miles and pace and everything that can be tracked on an app. This helps keep my motivation going by seeing how far I’ve run. It may help you too!
I hope these tips help you start and stick to your running goals in 2020! I would love to hear about your progress. Comment below, send me a tweet or private message me on Instagram: @alissahenrytv.