Five Simple Strategies To Help You Stick To Your Running Plan
Five Simple Strategies To Help You
Stick To Your Running Plan
There are so many benefits to establishing a running plan and sticking to it but that doesn’t mean that it is easy. The trails and roads of running are littered with people who started a running plan and because it got hard they quit and went back to their old habits. Running is for the strong willed, strong minded people who want to truly change their bodies and their lives. I always say that anyone who does not suffer from serious joint, heart or respiratory problems can become a runner if they really want to. Paul Bryant once said “It is not the will to win, but the will to prepare to win that is important.” This is true with anything in life. You have to have more than just a desire to succeed. A good example of this is the weight loss craze and obesity epidemic that plagues our nation. The success of all of the weight loss companies and exercise videos is evidence that there is a real desire, for so many, to be skinny, but the statistics tell us that fewer and fewer people are succeeding. If you ask the people trying to lose weight they will all tell you how badly they want to be skinny. There is just more to it than wanting to succeed. You have to want to succeed bad enough to do what it takes. I belive that there are some strategies that people can employ to change simple desire into a passion and start a plan of action that will greatly improve their chances of succeeding. In this article I am talking about running but I believe that these principles can also apply to many other areas of life.
1.) Make It Your Own – You need to have a goal and a plan that YOU really want achieve. Your goals can’t be based on what is popular or what your friends are doing. You need to set a goal that you really care about and that you really want. If you have no desire to finish a full marathon then don’t set that goal or you will most likely fail. Set a goal that you really want to achieve so that even when it gets hard you will still want to achieve it. Follow these steps to help you choose the right goal for you:
Make a list of what you want to achieve from your running plan. Is it weight loss, self confidence, endurance, speed, enjoyment, finish a 5K, do an Ironman triathlon. Whatever you really want write it d0wn but remember be honest here and write down things that YOU really want.
Write down why you want to achieve the things on your list. How would life be different if you achieved your goals? Paint a picture here to stoke that fire of passion that you need.
Make a list of where you are right now. Are you overweight or a procrastinator. How far can you run right now without stopping. Be honest here as well.
Make a list of all the things that you will need to do to bridge that gap between where you are right now and where you want to be.
2.) Be Realistic – Take a look at the list of what you need to do to get where you want to be and decide if it is realistic for you. Be optimistic and have faith and confidence in yourself but also be realistic and if you think that there is no way that you will stick with it then make some adjustments that you will be willing to stick with. If you are a terrible morning person then don’t plan to run every morning. If you absolutely hate eating salads then don’t say that you will eat a salad every day for lunch. If you are extremely busy with work and don’t think you can run six days a week then don’t plan to run six days a week. This seems obvious but I think many times we set ourselves up to fail because we plan things that sound good but if we are honest with ourselves then we know that we have no intention of really doing them.
3.) Plan it Out – Now that you have a good realistic list of what you need to do to get where you want to be, grab a calendar and plan it out. Be as specific as possible and plan out the days and time of day that you will run. Make sure you are still being realistic with your time and your tendencies. Don’t plan to run at 5:00am if you won’t be willing to get up at 4:30am to make it happen. If you plan to run some races then register for those races as soon as possible and put them in your calendar. If your goals include a nutrition change then try to plan this out as detailed as possible as well. The more decisions you make ahead of time the fewer decisions you will have to make when you are tired, hungry, cold, hot, etc. and the decisions are harder. After you have your plan set then go share it with others and let them know that you want them to help hold you accountable. Post your calendar where your spouse, roommates, kids, or co-workers can see so that you will feel more accountable. If you need some help with training plans or tips check out my training plan page here.
4.) Mix It Up – Take a look at your plan and make sure that you have spiced it up enough to keep it interesting. If it seems pretty dull and boring then add some variety to it. Add in some rewards for reaching milestones. Plan in some races that will give it some flair such as a charity event that you care about or a mud run or women’s only race if you are a female. Join a running club to help find some new friends to run with. Take some fitness classes or do some cross training like biking or swimming to break up your days of running. Plan some runs in new places or on trails to give you some new views while you run. Do whatever you think will make you more likely to succeed at your plan.
5.) Stick to the Plan – Now that you have done the planning here comes the hard part, actually going out and making it happen. Stick to your plan as closely as possible but also make sure to give yourself a break when you make mistakes and don’t dwell on those downfalls. Get right back on track and start again with a positive attitude. Don’t get discouraged if you need to change the plan a little bit if things aren’t working exactly as you planned. The important thing is to keep moving forward to your goal. You can do this and it will be worth it!
Keep Running Through Life!
If you need a little extra help in making the changes that you want to make in your life then take a look at my book review about a great book that helped me to become better at making changes. “Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard” by Chip and Dan Heath.