I remember being in school and hating running. I would be the slowest, often ending up walking halfway through my runs. I would avoid Physical Education, often giving excuses of being unwell. Running was really tough for me then, and I could not keep my form to even run 400 metres without panting so hard that I felt completely breathless.
Now, I run three times a week and I have completed numerous races, including half marathons.
The change came about when I saw an unflattering photo of myself when I was 32, after a 16-year hiatus from exercising after my secondary school days.
The initial few runs were exhausting and demoralising. I remembered feeling out of breath after less than a minute of running. At that extremely slow pace, my heart was pounding so hard that I felt the physical ache. However, I did not give myself the choice to stop, persevering through with up to five short runs a week, and slowly increasing my run timings at each session.
Starting a new habit that moves you out of your comfort zone is always difficult. It requires a great deal of perseverance and determination. Finding ways to help cultivate good habits will give you lesser excuses to slack.
My ways of helping me stay in line with my goals :
Join a Run Group
I started my journey with Running Department, a free social running group that runs together twice a week. I have met some really great pals from there and they keep me motivated and on-going till now. To this day, they still inspire me to do more.
Train for a Race
Sign up for your first race. The adrenaline of having other like-minded runners running alongside is simply amazing. It may not be easy, but crossing the finish line and your joy of physically holding on to your first run medal is just extremely rewarding.
Start a Run Log and Reward System
I get a great sense of satisfaction through crossing out more and more days on my run log as I push to complete more runs. Find something that brings you joy as a reward for yourself. I turn to buying a piece of running gear after a month of hard running!
Vary the Routes
I usually run different routes depending on the distance I plan to run. Find scenic locations, or places you wish to explore but have not had the chance to. New routes take the monotony out of running around the same area all the time. And you feel more keen and energetic to push. Map out your routes first so you won’t get lost. When exploring new areas, be sure to have your life line (mobile phone) with you.
Do Not Overdo It
As much as we want to build a new habit, try not to overdo it. Build up your runs gradually, keep up with the consistency, and follow advice from run coaches or running plans easily available online. Listen to your body and give it adequate rest when it demands it.
Now, are we ready to kickstart a running lifestyle? 🙂