Monday, March 9, 2015

Seven Steps to a Successful Running Habit

During my recent trip to India, I met several enthusiastic people who expressed genuine interest in running or jogging for that matter. Many of them also started with good intentions to maintain a regular running habit, but eventually gave up after a couple of weeks. I have noticed the same issue with few of my buddies here in US as well and therefore decided to look more closely into the main deterrent which prevents Indians from getting into this habit. Try some of these tips to maintain your motivation and determination to keep running. Various researches have proved that it can take about four to six weeks to develop a habit, so it does take some perseverance to make your new running habit stick. Once you cross the threshold there is no looking back, and what you will experience is true bliss.

1.  Start a learning program.

If you're totally new to running, it definitely helps to follow a plan that will help you ease into it and keep you from feeling discouraged. Create the plan the way you used to create a study routine during school days and follow it. Make sure the plan is not very challenging (this is not as hard as getting into IITs). For instance – I will jog for 30-45 minutes, 3-4 times a week. See how that works out for you.

2. Tell others

Share your desire to start a running habit with family and friends. Tell your parents too because you get lot of unpretentious encouragement from elders. By telling others, you're making yourself more accountable.

3.  Get yourself registered for a race

Training for a race is a great way to stay motivated to run. Check on internet to find any race to register. Get a friend or family member to join you, so you can motivate each other. When you feel like giving up on your training, you can think about all of the supporters you won't want to let down.

4. Training log

Keeping a training log or a running blog is an excellent way to track your progress and stay motivated. Fit Indian Run diary can be a good start. It's easy: Just write some comments after each of your workouts. Be sure to mark the date, your approximate mileage and time and a few comments about how you felt (i.e., "finished strong," "felt sluggish first 2 miles"). Doing this with people in your running circle is a great fun and morale booster too.

5. Don't overdo it

This one is the killer and most people get easily trapped in this conundrum. They end up feeling exhausted, sore and discouraged, rather than looking forward to their next run. Getting excited about this new hobby is one of the easiest ways to get injured and end up giving up. Don't run every day. You may even want to continue doing a walk. Just do what you feel extremely comfortable in. You'll enjoy this new habit much more if you don't get injured and you're not suffering through every run.

6. Plan for bad conditions

Don't let rainy, hot or cold weather or bad running conditions in your city give you an excuse not to run.  When you plan out things, keep these nuisances in your mind. Usually, new joggers get intimidated by these adverse situations and give up within few days. Expect this to happen and convince yourself that you are determined to overcome these hurdles. Once you get into the habit, these obstacles will never bother you.

7. How to beat boredom

Boredom is one of the top reasons people give up on running, so try to keep it fun and interesting. Convince your friend or somebody from your family to be your jogging partner. Raise their awareness about healthy lifestyle and they would love to join you on the track. Also, listening to music certainly is a game changer here.  Research shows that when you listen to your favorite track, it distracts your mind from run fatigue and enhances the efficiency by atleast 20%.

Remember, running or jogging for atleast an hour and more regularly is says a lot about your mental toughness then physical. Once you get into the groove with your firm determination, the physical fitness will automatically follow you. It will remind you that how lucky you are to be healthy enough to run and keep on motivating you. Perhaps it will inspire your family or kids to go after their dreams. Perhaps it will constantly remind yourself that you have chosen an exceptional thing to do with your life journey.