Running is an excellent form of basic exercise. It help you lose weight, boosts the immune system, improves lung function, lowers cholesterol levels and lower risk of health issues such as diabetes, osteoporosis, stroke and cancer.
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Plus, there’s nothing like a great run to clear your mind, relieve stress and combat depression.
But all of those great benefits can only happen if you actually get outside and do it regularly. So how to make your one-in-a-blue-moon jog a daily habit? We’ve got some running tips that will help you go the distance.
1. Make A Plan
Making running a part of your regular routine won’t happen by accident. Map yourself a running plan to set yourself up for success in advance. Find trails or interesting routes for your runs and stick to running a certain distance or length of time, changing it up every so often to challenge yourself. Consider signing up for a local 5 km race to challenge yourself, or set a particular goal (either distance or speed) that you’d like to reach in a certain amount of time. Having a clear, concise goal is great motivation when it comes to starting a new routine.
2. Make It Enjoyable
You’ll want to make sure you look forward to your daily run as an enjoyable treat, not a chore. Many people prefer running outdoors to indoors because they simply find it more pleasant; running through nature has proven mood-boosting benefits, plus there’s so much to see and observe. In the same vein, put together a running music playlist that gets you jazzed and always listen to it when you run as a trigger. Soon, you’ll be able to begin listening to it as you’re getting ready to head out on your run. Your brain will begin to associate your running playlist with feel-good endorphins.
3. Keep It Regular
You’ll be much more consistent if you pick a specific time to exercise every day or on certain days. For some people, the morning is the best time, because it’s a great way to clear one’s head and get a head-start on a busy day. For others, a quick run during lunch or a long leisurely jog after work is preferable. Whatever the best time is for you, block that time off. Fit in other duties around it as needed, but try not to change your running time.
4. Get Accountable
If you’re the only one who knows and cares whether you follow through on your running daily habit, you’re far less likely to keep it going than if you have some sort of support system. Tell your family or friends about your new goal to try to get their support. Alternately, you may be able to find a group of runners through social media or forums, and all of you can help to lend each other encouragement and give each other running tips.
One of the best ways to get accountable is to download a running tracking app (Nike+ Run is good of this) or use a fitness tracking device like a FitBit. This way you can see how far you’ve track how far you’ve come in your new routine, plus, you can share your running route and distances with friends and on social media.
5. Grab A Friend
If you really want to know how to make running a habit, try to run with a friend or join a running group. It’s a lot easier to get out and run when you know you’ll be letting someone down if you don’t.
5. Prepare Beforehand
We know, we know: Getting out the door can be hard. It’s dark and cold outside, and it’s so warm and comfortable in your bed, and the next thing you know, you’ve missed your chance at your morning workout.
A little prep goes a long way. Try setting out your running equipment by your bed the night before, to serve as a trigger or reminder. Place your shoes, water bottle, clothes and anything else you need near your bed so you can dress in a hurry. Keep easy pre-run food like bananas or a healthy smoothie pre-made, or try setting an automatic coffeemaker on automatic so that you wake up to the smell off freshly-brewed coffee before heading out on your jog… talk about motivation!
6. Listen to Your Body
When you start a new workout habit, sometimes your body lets you know that you’re not quite ready to go that hard. You need to learn to distinguish between simple excuses and bona fide signs of overtraining. Even if you want to develop a running daily habit, everyone needs rest days sometimes. When you need to rest, listening to your body is actually one of the best ways you can support your running habit.