I knew it would be hard to get back to running again, after such a long absence. I knew I would have to face my biggest enemy—myself—when it comes to restarting the running habit. For years, I’ve been used to inactivity, and I definitely knew that it would be a challenge to get me out the door again.
What I didn’t know, however, is that it would take my whole will power just to make me do what I loved doing most before. Oftentimes, the inertia of inactivity was so much stronger than me, and I found myself finding a hundred and one reasons not to run.
However, I have been running for a long time, and I occasionally go through this phase. Because of my lower back injury, this is the longest time I had been off running, so the struggle to get back to the sport is also as hard. To help me get back to running, I will use the following tips:
Make a public commitment to run again and to run consistently. By making it public, I can get the support of my family and friends who can help me in changing my lifestyle. My way of making a public announcement is through this blog post.
Reward yourself for meeting specific milestones. In my case, I need a new pair of running shoes and a cap. Should I succeed to run at least three times a week starting the second week of December up to the end of the year, I will buy myself a pair of gray and purple New Balance running shoes and a Runnr cap.
Don’t think, just do. Once, when I was scheduled to run, I found out that my greatest enemy is really myself. As I was preparing my running clothes, I caught myself thinking about all sorts of excuses not to push through, from the fact that it was getting dark, to a hundred and one other reasons, e.g., it looked like it was going to rain, I hadn’t cooked my cats’ dinner yet. What was fascinating was that even though my mind was going a hundred kilometers an hour thinking about all those things, my hands and my feet kept moving of their own accord, taking my singlet, shorts, and shoes, and getting into them. While my mind was still thinking about what a bad idea it was to run, my body was already out the door.
Think about how good it would be to run hours before you’re scheduled to do so. This is to condition your mind that you will love running again. At least when the time comes, your will won’t be as hard to “convince” since you’ve prepared the way already.
Mark your calendar with a big X every time you run. I use a red marker to mark my huge calendar so every time I see it, I realize how much (or how little) I’ve been following my commitment to move. I feel very happy and accomplished when I see a lot of red Xs, and this, in turn, helps motivate me to run more.
Don’t pressure yourself. I had run a marathon before, so I have a tendency to push myself too much whenever I run now. If I find myself tiring, for example, after 5km, I would tell myself I’m such a sissy—if I could run 30km straight before without stopping, why not now? But then, I need to realize that I have to get back to zero, I have to start small, so that I can enjoy the activity more and make it easier for myself to get back into the habit of running.
At the moment, although I’ve begun running intermittently, it’s far from being a habit like it was before. Still, I’m getting there, and hopefully, with these tips, I will finally find my stride again.
How about you? What are your tips for getting back into the running habit?