Did you make it a New Year’s Resolution to become a runner? How are you doing?
Now that it’s been a couple weeks, the enthusiasm you had on January 1st might be wearing off. It happens. Studies show it takes 21 days to make something new a habit. But that depends on how you define a habit. I actually think it takes much longer than that. Even after my first year of running, it was still challenging for me to get out there and do it. Now, after 2-1/2 years of running, running has become a part of my life. I don’t have to think about my next run and plan as carefully as I once did.
Starting a new routine can be rough – a lot of it is mental. Here are a few tricks to help you stick with your goal through 21 days and beyond:
• Plan your workouts ahead of time. Decide what you are going to do for the week. A race and a training plan can really help with this. The Couch to 5k plan is a great way to break into running.
• Sign up for a 5k so you have something “tangible” to aim for. Better yet, get a friend to sign up with you and hold each other accountable during training.
• Don’t think about your upcoming run too much throughout the day or the night before. Get used to the idea that it’s just something you do and don’t overthink it.
• If you tend to dwell on the physical discomfort of running, try to imagine the way you feel after the workout. Running is difficult, but you feel great afterward. Jillian Michaels says in one of her workout videos, “Get used to the idea of being uncomfortable.” Of course, if something goes beyond a normal level of discomfort and into real pain, then you should stop and see a doctor.
• Don’t expect to change overnight. Be in it for the long haul.
• You can even take the pressure off yourself by keeping your goals private.
Sometimes, it helps to be inspired. Saturday is the 2012 U.S Olympic Team Trials for the marathon in Houston, Texas. We’ll find out the three men and three women who will be running for the United States at the Olympic Games in London this summer. Whether or not you are aspiring to run one mile or 26.2 (or more), it’s inspiring to watch elite athletes. Tune in to NBC from 3-5 p.m. (ET) to watch and get inspired!
For more on the Olympic marathon trials, visit the USA Track & Field website at http://www.usatf.org/.