Running 101:

KEEPING MOTIVATED

by Michael Lax, May 28, 2016

Thanks for reading my first-ever blog! So, why running? I'm a chiropractor, so why am I not writing about how to fix back problems and bad posture? Well, first of all, I'm passionate about running, and helping people start to run and get better at it. But also, running and spinal health are, in fact, mutually beneficial. To have a healthy spine and musculoskeletal system one needs regular physical activity, preferrably aerobic. Running is one of the best forms of exercise for this. Yet to run well, and to run for a lifetime, the spine needs to be supple, have correct joint mobility (not too little, not too much) and be correctly aligned. In future blogs I will write more about this, but let's start at the beginning: keeping motivated.

Many people start running, then, for various reasons, stop. As someone who runs every day, I’d like to share some ideas about how to keep motivated to run.

Here are 10 things that come to mind:

  1. Set goals. These may be very simple, like to run every day, or to train for a specific race, or to lose a certain number of pounds by ‘x’ date. Write them down. Most importantly, don't keep these goals all to yourself: share them with the people close to you. This creates accountability.
  2. Keep your goals realistic and attainable. Aim for small, incremental improvements that you know you can achieve with some consistent work. These will help provide the motivation to keep going, to stay focussed and committed. If your goals are too far out of reach, you’ll give up trying. For this reason, it’s a good idea to set short, medium and long term goals that you regularly “tweak” depending on your progress and changing interest/focus. Use your long term goals as the ones that seem unattainable at the moment, the “ultimate wish list” if you will. As you slowly chip away at your short, then medium term goals, you’ll one day realize that the long term goal you set way back when is suddenly within your grasp. What a boost this is to your desire to run!
  3. Make running a "1st Level" priority. If possible, plan your day around your run.
  4. Start running EVERY day (make it a goal). Missing a day makes it easy to miss 2, then 3... Pick an arbitrary minimum distance that will "count" as a run. For myself, I picked one mile. In metric, that might be 2 km. Whatever number you chose, stick to it. If it's 11:45 at night and you realize you still haven't run that day, get out for a short jog...(or not! This may seem a little 'over the top', but if consistency is important...well, you decide.) If you're sick or injured, get out for a short jog. Don't give in to excuses! 
  5. Don't think you always need to run from home. Get in your car/on your bike and go to different places around the city. We're blessed with living in a place with an incredible array of great roads, trails, parks and network of foot paths...use them! Get out and explore! Be adventurous! Use local hiking books, maps, or speak to other runners. Pick their brains about their favorite places to run.
  6. Run a different route every day. Always mix it up. Keep it interesting!
  7. Plan on running mostly trails. This will help you avoid overuse injury and be easier on your body.
  8. Run with a dog! Ol' Rover needs daily exercise, so taking him/her for a run every day will help get you out too. Don’t have a dog? Ask a friend who does…
  9. Run with a friend (or two). This is especially important when the weather gets bad in the late fall and the days get shorter. There is an unspoken commitment to help each other stay on track and show up!
  10. Buy new shoes and running gear regularly...even if your old stuff is still OK. As we know, running in new shoes is one of those great feelings. We run faster and feel better about our running. While you're at it, buy a couple new shoes, one for road, one for trail.
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