How to make running a lifestyle

Running doesn't have to be mundane; it can be a wonderful way to explore and challenge your limits. Keeping it fun, building up endurance slowly and creating a support team to uplift you can help make running a lifestyle rather than a hobby that is tough to maintain.

Keep it fun

Running shouldn't be a chore: It should be a reward. Keeping running fun is the greatest motivation to keep going. To keep it interesting, seek out different running venues: switch terrain with the trail, road and track options that you have available. Rather than keeping your eyes on the pavement, engage with your surroundings. In the fall, count the pumpkins on porches as you run. Have a fun workout of running from mailbox to mailbox and walking in between others. There are plenty of ways to make your own game to keep running interesting.

Another way to keep running fun is to listen to music or an audiobook during your run, which can help motivate you during faster runs or pass the tedious miles of a long run. Always make sure to be courteous and aware of your surroundings if you choose to run plugged in.

Build up endurance

Marathoners do not head out the door for their first run ever and nail a 20-miler. Every runner starts at the beginning, so do not feel discouraged if you need to begin with intervals of walking and running to slowly build your endurance. This is an easy way to increase your mileage and endurance while lessoning your chance of burnout and injury.

When using the run/walk method, the walk breaks you take during your runs become further apart and lessen in duration. For instance, if you begin with a run walk rhythm of four minutes running, three minutes walking, over time, the running portion will expand to five, then six, seven and eight minutes while the walking portion will shrink to only a minute or two. Over time, you will be able to eliminate walking completely or only use walk breaks as needed.

Build a support team

Getting out the door for a long run or a bad-weather workout is a lot easier if you have a running partner or group counting on you to be there. Join a local running club or take a friend with you on your runs a few days a week so that you have no excuse to throw in the towel when the weather is bad or when the snooze button seems inviting.

Tell your friends, family and co-workers about your goals. If you want to train for your first 5K, find a race, set a date and spread the word. When you keep your loved ones up to date with your training and progress, you have a net of support to keep you going and motivate you to aim high. When the race date arrives, there is no better feeling than knowing your loved ones will be at the finish to watch you achieve your goal.

Above all, remember that running isn't a punishment, but a privilege and a gift.

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