7 Tips to Get You Motivated to Run
Crisp, fall air makes for perfect running weather, and with marathon season in full swing there’s no shortage of inspiring running stories to motivate you to lace up your sneakers. Still, getting off the couch can seem daunting, especially if you’re new to running or if you’re exhausted from taking care of the kiddos. Here’s how to get yourself from the sofa to the starting line of your first 5K, and get the whole family involved, too.
Grab a Pair of Sneakers
If you’re just starting out, the sneakers you’ve got in the closet will be fine for easy, fifteen-minute jogs. As you increase time and mileage, you’ll want to buy a pair of quality running shoes. (Old, past-their-prime sneaks can cause joint pain, blisters, and more.) Head to a specialty running store to find the best ones for your body and gait—most places will put you on a treadmill to determine your individual needs. Anticipate spending between $90 and $120 for your perfect pair.
Start in the Driveway
They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step—and they’re right! Don’t expect to run a marathon on your first day out, and don’t plan to break any speed records, either. It takes practice for your body to build up enough endurance to run—your leg muscles, heart, and lungs all have to get stronger, so be prepared to run and walk around your neighborhood for a while. Begin by running for one minute and walking for two, for fifteen to thirty minutes every other day. After a couple weeks, switch it up so you’re running for two minutes and walking for one. At that point, you can increase the time on your feet and run for longer stretches.
Don’t be Discouraged by Your Breath
Breathing hard is a sign that you’re working hard—everyone does it, even the pros when they’re really putting in an effort. The more you run, the more your breathing will improve; it will feel easier, and you’ll be able to carry on a conversation in time.
Set a Simple Goal
Running for ten minutes without stopping is a good one to start with, and from there you can build up to a bigger goal, like completing a 5K. To stay motivated, sign up for a local fun run a month and a half from now—if you start run-walking today, you’ll be able to work up to your town’s Turkey Trot by Thanksgiving!
Aim to run (or run-walk) four days a week, with active rest days or cross-training in between. Activities like yoga, Zumba, and boot camps on non-running days are great for building strength and flexibility that will enhance and improve your running.
Expect to Be Derailed
Tantrums, fevers, missed naptimes...As a mom you’ve learned there are tons of things that can throw off your routine. Don’t worry if your little one prevents you from running or working out today—just pencil it into your day tomorrow and do the best you can. Studies show it’s the amount of time per week you spend exercising, not which days you fit it in, that has a positive effect on your health. That means pounding the pavement on Tuesday instead of Monday isn’t going to throw off your fitness too much.
Get the Kids Involved
If you can’t find a babysitter, bring the little ones with you. Jogging strollers are better than ever these days, and you can find ones that fit up to three kids weighing 190 pounds. (Just make sure your baby isn’t too little—jostling around can cause head and neck injuries in infants younger than six months.) Kids that are too big to be strapped in can ride their bikes or scooters next to you. Or head to a local track (many high school tracks are open to the public during non-school hours), set the kiddos up on a blanket in the middle with coloring books and snacks, and do laps around them. Four laps to a mile—go, mama, go!
Need a great pair of running sneaks? Check out some of our favorite picks in the slideshow above.
By healthy lifestyle expert Kimberly Daly
Kimberly A. Daly is a freelance writer and editor. She has held staff positions at Shape, Glamour, Fitness, and Good Housekeeping magazines. When she's not flipping through the latest issue of National Geographic or putting together a health or beauty article, you can find her doing laps of New York City's Central Park. Kim has completed three marathons (NYC 2009, Marine Corps 2010, and Boston 2011) and is training for her next to-be-determined endurance challenge. Check out her blog Some Kind Of Runderful.