Along with walking, running is one of the easiest activities you can do, and the simplest to fit into the rhythm of our lives and personal obligations. But running demands a certain amount of diligence and regularity if you’re aiming for good results physically and mentally. Here are a few tricks to spark your enthusiasm, keep it fun and maintain your perseverance throughout your practice.
1) Set your objectives:
They can certainly be short-term (e.g., running 30 mins on a given day), medium-term (running twice a week) or long-term (running 10 km in one town or another, for such and such a cause, etc.). Most importantly, the objectives must be achievable, and strenuous enough for you to be proud of your efforts while not putting you in a position where you’ll fail. Remember to set your objectives in terms of the duration of your runs and not the distance. On the other hand, for a 1-kilometre race, your only objective will be to finish it. Increasing your self-esteem will give you greater enthusiasm for continuing your efforts. Don’t forget: “Enthusiasm is the basis of all progress” (Henry Ford).
2) Record your progress:
You can keep a training diary by entering your sessions, your impressions and your feelings, or simply write a few words in your agenda. Being pleased about your own progress will increase your personal satisfaction (as long as your sessions gradually increase in length and duration, of course).
3) Remind yourself of the benefits of running:
They are numerous! The sport improves the quality of your sleep as well as your general health: blood circulation, better lipid management, prevention of certain illnesses; in terms of mental health, it will reduce your stress levels and emotional irritation. By blending the two, you’ll increase your energy level.
4) Maintain a positive outlook:
During your running sessions, you’ll experience highs and lows, so repeat motivational phrases to give yourself a boost. The willpower to achieve your objectives is the main ingredient in the recipe for success. Courage will prove to be another source of motivation. But above all, run for pleasure! And remember that the notion of pleasure varies from person to person.
5) Run with others:
Sometimes solitude allows us to focus on our priorities or enter a state of introspection. However, joining a training group may help you to go beyond your limits. For some, this is an opportunity to socialize (we’re not talking about emotional involvements here), while others may find support and help in reaching their objectives. A personal coach may also offer structured training sessions that will take you beyond your comfort zone, but still with the aim of encouraging you to continue in the right direction. Talk about all this to friends and family – they’ll find the right words of encouragement too.
6) Make your practice sessions fun:
Vary your speeds while running (accelerate for short sections of your runs), divide up your run into walking, jogging and sprinting segments (30-30-30), change the practice surface (tarred road, bare earth, pebbles, sand, etc.), end your session with exercises to strengthen your muscles (push-ups, abdominal exercises, etc.) or have a quick swim after your run (a few swim strokes). You’ll be using different sets of muscles that will push your body in new directions. You can also listen to music while you run, so as not to get bored.
7) Reward yourself:
I’m not talking about candies and sweet snacks! I’m talking about accessories specially made for running or a new sports outfit that will provide enjoyment on your runs. Give yourself a gift that will help you to continue your efforts.