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Motivational Tips for Beginning Runners

Aug 17, 2007
Having trouble getting out the door? Here are a few tips to help keep you motivated.

Pick a goal. A performance goal. Maybe a race, or just a specific workout. I recently met a woman that was so proud when she ran 30 minutes without stopping, I could tell something had really clicked with her. She is hooked.

Start slow. A beginning running program needs to be slow, easy, progressive, and hopefully enjoyable. Back in my days at Ball State University we took 12 weeks to take adults through a jog walk progression with a final goal of jogging 20-30 minutes nonstop. Remember, the more out of shape you are, the more uncomfortable exercise is going to be, unless you keep the intensity low. If you cannot walk 3.5 miles in an hour, you are not ready to start jogging.

Buy some nice gear. Good shoes and comfortable gear might be something you look forward to using on a regular basis.

Involve the family. Family fitness is an awesome motivator for parents.

Involve others. It does help some to workout with others. Most of the time I am alone, but the tough workouts like long runs or intervals are best done in groups.

Get a dog. My dogs are raring to go every morning, and it is hard for me to turn them down. I love taking them out for those easy morning runs.

Establish a routine by running at the same time of day often.

Keep a log. I had a roommate at Ball State that hung a calendar in the kitchen and recorded his time run on a daily basis when he was preparing for a marathon. To me those 2 hour plus morning runs highlighted on that calendar looked very impressive.

Learn. Read, go to workshops, attend lectures, and do what you can do find out what others do to make them successful.

Variety. Run different routes, maybe change up the pace once in a while. Cross training may keep you from burning out on running.

Patience! Many give up after a short time because they do not see results. You have to stick with it and give your body a chance to adapt.

Think positive! I tell students in my tobacco cessation class, keep telling yourself 50 times a day that you need a cigarette, and you will never quit because that is what you believe. What would happen if you told yourself 50 times a day, I cannot wait to get in shape! After about a week, you would have a much better outlook on working out.

Reinforcement. I honestly cannot explain why I became such a fanatic about exercise, but I do remember having some modest success as a high school freshman cross country runner, and after that the harder I worked, the better I became. That was all the reward I needed.

So what are you waiting for?
About the Author
Dave Elger is a well respected authority within the running community having written hundreds of articles on the topics of running and wellness. You can contact him at http://www.daveelger.com. He also supports the Okinawa Running Club .
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