I used to run and jog infrequently. Until having children opened my eyes to the fact that I had to take care of myself to take care of my family.
After a day’s work consisting of running my business, I would find myself too tired to play with my kids and realized that I needed to change. The exercise was the key to having more mental and physical energy and I knew that running was the right track for me.
It took me some and effort to make running a regular part of my life. I had to overcome mental and physical hurdles to reach a level of fitness. This post is for you if you’ve ever struggled to take up running, especially if you dropped it before out of frustration.
Here are my tips to help you fall in love with running and do it for the long run.
Start with a why
Before you even put on your sneakers, you should have a strong reason for why you want to take up running. Running or jogging is hard and you’ll only get the benefits from it if you commit to it long enough. It takes months if not nearly a year to get used to it and to see the clear benefits of running.
Start by thinking about exactly why you want to run. For me, there was a clear reason. I wanted to be a better parent to my kids. I wanted to live long enough to see important milestones, and I wanted to have enough energy to do activities with them.
What’s your reason for running? Dig deep and write down your purpose for running. When you have clear goals and a purpose, you’ll find the motivation to keep trying not just for a few days or weeks, but for years.
Becoming a regular jogger was very difficult at first. But I found the Couch25K training app that proved to be a game-changer for me.
The main way that it works is my starting in a very small way. Maybe, your first goalpost should be to simply get off the couch and go around the block. Next week, you could choose to walk or run more, or to increase the intensity with which you run.
Starting small and making small increments to your running routine will help you hit larger goals. It’s also a good idea to add a fitness app with some kind of online workout program to create a structure for your training.
The use of technology and reaching for small goals will ultimately compound and lead to big changes later.
Link pleasure to running
When I run, I also engage my mind in mental exercises. I run through specific exercises that reinforce the habit of running.
One exercise that I do is to create a strong link between pleasure and the act of running. As I run through my usual route, I think about the positive effects of the action I’m taking:
- I get to spend more time with my kids and engage with them at a deeper level because I have more energy
- I get to lose weight, get in shape and feel good
- Running gives me mental clarity
- I can do more for the people around me because I run and stay fit
Create a link between pain and not running
The next exercise that I do is to link painful outcomes with not running regularly. I think about how I might not live as long as I could, or that I feel more tired than I should.
I create a clear picture of how I would look and feel ten years from now if I didn’t run frequently.
Linking pleasure to running and linking pain to not running has helped me sustain this activity over time.
I have dual motivations that keep me working at my fitness level consistently.
One secret that many people miss is that you need to prioritize your self care. And running is a form of self care. Taking care of yourself and prioritizing your exercise and health is like putting on your oxygen mask first in an airplane.
It’s only when you are in a good state that you can be of service to other people in life. Prioritizing yourself is not being selfish. It’s being your best so that you can do better for your family, your community, and the world at large.
Jogging or running is a powerful activity that can increase your heart rate and help you stay in shape and get more energy to do what matters in life, like spending more time with your family.
I think that it’s also an important form of self-care that leads to becoming a better parent, spouse, or even business leader.
If you’ve ever failed to jog or dislike running but want to be consistent at it, there are tips to help you. I’ve shared techniques that I use to keep running. Apply them to your own life and get running.