If you're a new runner or you've set a New Year's resolution to begin running, you may find it difficult to stick with your new routine. The first thing to remember is that you're creating a new habit, and that is never easy. Take it one day at a time and do not get discouraged when minor setbacks occur. Use these five tips to stay motivated.
More: Find Your Running Motivation
Set a Specific Goal
The best way to keep your motivation high in anything in life is to set a goal and write it down. In running, there are many ready-made goals in the form of races at your fingertips. Pick a specific race, whether it's a 5K, 10K, half marathon or even a full marathon, and sign up! Once you have that date in your head, you have a goal to target that will motivate you to get off the couch for your run.
More: Set Goals, Not Resolutions
Find or Create a Training Plan
There are literally hundreds of training plans available online for free or at a low cost. There are also MANY books on running that can offer training plans for all levels. Do some research, and find a plan that is right for you even if you are not targeting a specific race. Having a plan that dictates which days you run and how far will make it much easier to follow through on your resolution. If you can't find a plan that is right for you, then create your own. Just make sure that it is not too difficult or easy for your level of fitness.
More: Training Plans to Fit Your Age
Make a Schedule
Enter your runs into your daily calendar ahead of time so that they become a priority in your life. Don't let life just happen, as your runs will be pushed to the side to make room for everything else. If you have a family, involve them in your plans and ask them to help support you by giving you the time to run. If they know your schedule in advance, they will often work their daily schedules to help you reach your goal.
More: How to Create a Running Schedule
Find a Running Buddy
Having someone to run with will help keep you accountable. It is much harder to skip a run when someone is counting on you to show up. Also, having a friend makes running a social event rather than just something you have to do. Most runners find that their running buddies become some of their best friends. Don't underestimate the power of sweating together.
More: How New Runners Can Engage With the Running Community
Find a Coach
If all else fails, it may help to have your own coach, who can give you direction and cheer you on. Coaches can be great for accountability, and can help you take the guesswork out of training. They can range from in-person, one-on-one coaching to group coaches to online coaches. Find a style of coaching that fits with both your pocketbook and your goals to keep you moving forward.
More: Quiz: Do You Need a Running Coach?
Sign up for your next race.