Running Towards Your Goal

By Kerri Whatley and the TLS Team

Making the decision to start running is a step in the direction of becoming healthier, but starting something new can be daunting, overwhelming and scary. Finding motivation to persevere and commit is possible. If you’re new to the sport of running or find yourself in a running rut, benefit from these five tips that will help you find your motivation and reach your goals.

1. Sign up for a race.

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The great thing about road races is that once you sign up, you have to run to train for it. It’s the only way you can prepare yourself for the race.

Once you commit to a road race, the way you think about running changes. Running suddenly has a purpose. If you skip a day because you don’t want to run, you’re only making it harder on yourself to get to where you need to be on race day. Because of this, you’ll make time to run because you’ll think of it as training.

2. Get great music.

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The hardest part about running is the first step out the door, but giving yourself something to look forward to on the run will make it easier. You know that song that you blast when you hear it on the radio, dance to, download it and upload it onto your iPod? That song should be the first song you hear as you head out the door to go run.  Listen to it as much as you want but only listen to it while you’re on a run. You’ll look forward to hearing the song, and it will make walking out the door 10 times easier.

3. Think short-term.
For running to become part of your lifestyle, it needs to be something you enjoy, not something you worry about. If you tell yourself that you have to run every day for the rest of your life, it will feel impossible and overwhelm you. Things are going to happen that derail your running plans; life will get in the way. That’s why it’s important to think about today, not the next 1,000 tomorrows.

Focus on the present and what you can do today. If you only have 30 minutes for today’s run, then try to go a little faster than you would if you had an hour. If you can’t run today, make it a priority to run tomorrow. If you can’t run after work, try to run in the morning.  Focus on finding a solution to your running speed bumps, and it will feel much easier to make running part of your life.

4. Celebrate your achievement.

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Splurge on new running sneakers and you’ll feel terrible if you don’t use them. If you have running gear that you love, you’ll want to put it on and use it. Celebrating your running achievements is a great motivator to reach your running goals, too.

5. Talk about it.
Stand in front of the mirror and repeat this sentence: I am a runner. Did that feel weird? Now try saying it in front of your friends and family. Scary thought, isn’t it?

It’s scary to tell people that you run, but doing so will help motivate you to stick with it. This sounds silly, but it’s true. Telling people makes it official and no longer youre secret. But the greatest things happen when you step outside of your comfort zone, so just do it. Tell your friends and family that you run. Once you do, you own it – running is now something you do. Nobody cares how fast or how long you go – just the simple fact that you do it is impressive. They’ll ask you about it, so you’ll feel compelled to keep running.

Running is something you own, it’s your responsibility to keep doing.  The more you talk about it, the more pride you’ll take in running. You’ll want to stick with it because it feels empowering to do something challenging entirely on your own. So start talking.

Every runner is different, but this rings true for everyone: You can achieve any goal you set in front of yourself. Staying motivated to reach your goals is an ongoing battle, and you will struggle from time to time. It’s all in your head. Too often we get in the mindset that we can’t do something, and we let minor setback stop us from achieving our goals. Don’t think too much about running, just get out there and do it. Only you can motivate yourself.