When I took up running a few years ago it was to run a relay with my family. The race was a trail run in the Canadian Rockies in the fall, and my leg of it was 12k. I trained my ass off. I went from haven’t-run-since-high-school to running everyday. I didn’t want to let everyone down.
But I still didn’t identify as “a runner”.
I was baptized by fire into the world of running tights, neon shoes, and gps watches, and I loved it! After the race I kept on running…but still could not call myself a runner! I wasn’t fast enough, didn’t have the right physique, I was too old– whatever the reasons, I’ve learned they were all bull.
If you run, you are a runner.
Many years and many races later, I’ve embraced the title and proudly call myself a runner. But every so often taking care of my six kids, keeping my house from looking like an episode of hoarders, and building my business with my sister overwhelms me. My runs start getting further and further apart. I have a running business, you guys, but I’m not running! I’m a fraud! It can be hard to get back into gear when you’ve been slacking so if you find yourself struggling sometimes (like I do!) I’ve put together some tips to help us both:
- Put it on your schedule. No, really. Physically write it in there. You wouldn’t miss a doctor’s appt you had on your schedule. Schedule yourself a run. Doing it at the same time everyday helps solidify at as a habit, but for some of us that’s not always possible, so make sure you at least formally schedule it into your agenda. It’s only a priority if you make it one.
- Talk about it. Tell people you’re doing it. Post your progress on social media, heck, start a blog. People will keep you accountable. That doesn’t mean that you expect a coworker or your Aunt on facebook to hold your feet to the fire, but being asked casually by people in your life how your training is coming can be very motivating to keep up with it. When people start identifying you as a runner, it helps you make that leap internally too, “heyyy, I AM a runner!”
- Sign up for a run. I’m always saying this to my husband. “I’m having trouble running..find us a run to register for!” I’m the type of person who needs that pressure to perform. If you’re not, I envy you! Have a race date looming keeps me lacing up day after day.
- Reward yourself. A new running top or slick pair of shoes makes me excited to gear up and get out.
- Try streaking. Please don’t get naked and traumatize your neighbours! A running streak is when you make a commitment to run everyday for any length of time. Even if you feel too busy, or let’s face it– sometimes the couch is very inviting– you’re more likely to drag your ass out for a run to maintain your streak. When I have to drag myself out with promises to my sluggish body that it’ll be really short, once I’m out there I feel better and end up doing a decent run.
- Music! Make a kick ass playlist and only allow yourself to listen to it while running. Or download that audiobook or podcast you’ve been hearing about and likewise only listen while you’re running. I’ve been known to circle the block a time or two at the end of my run because my podcast isn’t quite over yet..bonus! Extra mileage!
- Explore some place new. Getting tired of the same houses and those familiar cracks in the sidewalk? Turn left instead of right at your first corner, or find a trail instead of the pavement. This always keeps my mind more occupied when I’m not sure where I’m going or how long this route is going to be. The run seems to fly by much faster.
- Bring someone. Whether it’s a friend to run with you, or chasing your kids on their bikes (a favourite of mine). Even if you’re a solo runner like me, it’s a nice change of pace. (And bonus, your kids get exercise too!)
- Make goals. Sometimes your runs are strictly maintenance and that’s ok. You went, and that’s good enough. Sometimes, though, you have to challenge yourself in order to stay interested. Work on your speed or push your distance. Register for a race that’s out of your league. Play games– a little fartlek is good for the soul 😉
- Multitask. Toddler wants to go the park? Lace up those shoes, strap the little one into the running stroller, and do a few laps around the neighbourhood before relaxing at the park. Or ditch your car and run to the convenience store to grab that winning lottery ticket.
Life is never too busy to fit in a run. If it’s important to you, you’ll make it happen.
And now that I’ve said that..better get my butt out there 🙂