Posted by: Joe Nuss on May 21, 2012
By, Vickie Leff, MSW, LCSW aka RunnerMom.com
You’ve been thinking about it, you want to run. I know it’s hard to get motivated and take those first steps. Well, now is the time to start! These five tips will ensure your success, I promise.
Why am I doing this?? Define your fitness/running goal. Be very, very specific and personal. For instance, saying “I want to be fit” is too general. In order to get and stay motivated, your goal needs to mean something to you. A better goal would be “I want to have more energy and lose one dress size in 8 weeks”. Or, “I want to run the Duke Medicine Ramblin’ Rose Women’s Half Marathon in October .” Races are terrific goals because there is a static end date for your goal (that you can’t change). And, the bragging rights make the training worth it. The all women’s half marathon is 13.1 miles, on October 21st, 2012. Imagine standing at that start line with lots of other women, just like yourself, ready to go! You may also want to sign up for a 5k or 10k race a month or so prior to that half marathon. It will give you the confidence you need to keep striving to reach your ultimate goal. Here’s how to get started.
Get the right gear. This will make a huge difference for your success. Please don’t start an exercise routine with your old sneakers. You can really hurt yourself and that will not be successful. Go to a running store and have an expert fit you for the right shoe. They will watch you walk in your socks to see the way your foot strikes (pronation). It may take up to an hour to get fit for your shoes. Shoes will run from $75 – $110. It’s worth the investment to reduce your chance of injury. For the ladies, find a sports bra that is for high impact activity. Trust me on this, you’ll be more comfortable.
Act “as if”. This is an old (but goodie) clinical social work adage to help you assume the behavior and build confidence to reach your goal. If you act as if you are a runner, you are more likely to take actions as if you are. If you tell yourself “I’m not a runner, I can’t do this”, chances are you will defeat yourself before you’re out the door.
Set yourself up for success each time you go out the door. This means setting daily/weekly goals that are truly attainable, not “pie in the sky” goals. If you experience success each time you go out, you are more likely to keep trying. Your daily/weekly goals will depend on the fitness goal you’ve set. If you’ve never run and you set a goal of running one mile, you are probably not going to experience success, but get frustrated and quit. Start small, be conservative, and experience success each time you run. Find a training guide that suits your fitness level. Go to www.runnermom.com; www.halhigdon.com; www.jeffgalloway.com for some great guides. Remember, it takes about two weeks to establish a habit, so please don’t expect to enjoy yourself for a few weeks. The wait will be worth it.
Tell everyone. This really works! Tell your friends and family what you are trying to achieve. This makes you accountable, not only to yourself, but to others. Put your goal on the fridge. Writing down, logging, your activity (being accountable to yourself) will also increase the chances of success.
How to stay motivated: Having a goal that means something to YOU is how you will stay motivated and reach your goal. Most important, please know that you do not have to be, or look like, an athlete to enjoy running. Any age, any size, any speed. I’ll tell you a secret: I am a serious plodder, back of the pack runner, but I won my first marathon for my age division. How? I was the only one in my age division! See what can happen if you just get yourself to the starting line?
You CAN do it! Now, grab a piece of paper and work on that goal of yours. For more tips you can go to www.runnermom.com.
# # #
Vickie Rance Leff is the mother of two children, ages 15 and 13. She began running as a way to handle the stress of working in oncology. With the help of other mothers, and friends, she was able to integrate her love of running with being a full time mom. At 44 she ran her first marathon, completed the 2002 Chicago Marathon, the 2002 New York Marathon and the 2003 and 2005 Boston Marathon. She lives with her husband and two children in North Carolina.