You’ve read about it and thought about it and learned about it and watched it on TV. You’ve seen lots of other people do it and you’ve asked lots of people about it, and you’ve even gone so far as to buy yourself new runners, a new outfit and to print off a shiny new training plan. But for some reason, no matter how much you say you are going to do it, or how much you think about doing it, somehow you haven’t started running yet. And you were originally supposed to start 3 weeks ago. Here’s 7 roadblocks you may be hitting en route to getting started in your running routine and what you can do about them:
- You’re afraid you’ll be slow – Guess what? You probably will be at the start. We ALL are. When I started out, a combination of running and walking took me nearly an hour just to cover 5 kilometers. Now, I can regularly run a sub 20 minute 5k. But that only happens because I worked at it, and I kept trying and pushing and pushing some more. And you’ll get there too! Consistency is key and going out there and doing it anyway on the days you don’t really want to. But the first part of that is just to start. And next week you’ll wish you started today, so you might as well get going!
- You’re not making it a priority – Every day there seems to be a heap of excuses as to why you can’t run: you’re tired, it’s too late, too early, it’s raining, your feet hurt, the kids need a drive somewhere. Whatever it is, push them aside and start making your run a priority. Treat it like an importatant appointment you can’t miss and show up. Every. single. time. Of course there will be days when it just doesn’t happen, but they should be the low low minority, not the majority. You owe it to yourself to make it a priority and make it happen.
- You know it is going to be hard – Yep. It sure is. And for the first little while it will suck and hurt and you’ll be sore and out of breath and just feel like you’re permanently on the struggle bus. But if you keep at it, and you push through, this goes away! And one day you go for a run, and you kind of enjoy it a little bit and then each day it gets a little better and you like it a little more until suddenly you’re craving your runs and can’t go a day without!
- You’re stuck in the comparison trap – You see other people running and think that you won’t be that fast, or look that good, or go that far. You hear about other people doing races and setting PRs and you think “I can’t do that!” And so naturally the answer is to do nothing at all right? WRONG! How do you think those people got to that place? They started in the exact same spot as you are right now. Run your run. Lace up your shoes, go out there and do whatever you can do today. And tomorrow do it again, and the next day and the next day, and pretty soon you’ll be making huge leaps of progress. Because guess what? The comparison thing never stops unless you stop it. Fourteen years of running later, I still catch myself comparing to others – but I’ve learned how to reign it in and use it as energy to motivate me and push me harder.
- You don’t want to do it alone – You’ve read all about the people who rant about and worship their solo runs (guilty), and like to believe that it would be so therapeutic and good for you to run alone and spend some time by yourself. But deep down all you can think of is “oh my golly, that sounds so boring, and I really am not interested in the least, in kicking my own butt for 5 km slogging down the road in the rain.” If that sounds more like what you’re actually thinking, or if you tend to be the person who does better when you are motivated by others rather than self-motivated, find a buddy! There is no shame in being a group runner or running with a few people as long as you are getting out there and getting it done!
- You’re too tired – There’s two scenarios at play here: 1) you tell yourself you’re tired, but really just need to kick your butt into gear and head out the door anyway, or 2) your body is genuinely fatigued due to improper nutrition, sleep and stress management. If you’re in the first group, know that initially, there is probably never going to be a time when you don’t feel a little tired unmotivated or uninterested in going for a run. After all, you’re probably either getting up extra early to do it, or you are doing it after a full day of work. Your success however, comes from pushing through those feelings, thoughts and that demotivating inner voice, and doing it anyways. It gets easier and after a while that voice in your head shuts up most of the time, you get used to getting up early and you get to a point where running gives you more energy rather than depletes it. If you are in the second group, understanding food and fuel needs before you begin running is important, as is adequate sleep for proper recovery and managing your stress. Running can be a method of stress management, but make sure you have the motivation to get out the door!
- You’re worried you’ll fail – Whether it’s failing yourself, or failing someone else, fear of not being able to do what you set out to do is a very real reason for having trouble getting started. Take the pressure off yourself: make your goal as simple as “I am going to run today,” and then lace up your shoes and head outside. And then it doesn’t matter if you run for 5 minutes or 35 minutes, you are already succeeding just by running. Each day you can challenge yourself more and set loftier goals. If you’re not good at challenging yourself and making yourself accountable, join a group or find a buddy and be accountable to somebody else to make sure you get your run in. Then, the only failure will be if you don’t show up.
Need some more motivation to start running? Read these:
- How to Start Running
- Base Training
- How to be a Morning Runner
- 8 Running Mistakes and how to fix Them