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10 Tips for Falling in Love with Running & Making it a Habit

I’m so excited to have Kate from So Cal Runner Gal on as a contributor. Hands down, she is one of my most favorite run/healthy lifestyle bloggers of all time. I’ve known her for three years now, we actually met just before the Boston Marathon 2013 and we were at the finish line together during one of the most iconic moments of marathon history. It’s been amazing to watch her grow as a runner over the years, smashing a PR at the St. George marathon last Fall at a mind blowing 3:13 (double digits faster than her target and previous PR) and evolving into a succesful, certified run coach. She just completed the Boston Marathon for a second time this week, racking up another unicorn for the race medal display. She’s an inspiration and a joy, I am grateful to have her as a colleague and as a friend.  Enjoy!

10 Tips for Falling in Love with Running & Making it a Habit

I am one of those people that is wholeheartedly and unapologetically obsessed with running. I train for marathons, I blog about it, I coach other people to run, and I saturate people’s Instagram feeds with pictures of running. It’s just my thing.

Since I am such a blatant runaholic, people often ask me how they too can get into running. They want to love it, but they just don’t. I wish I had a magic wand that could get people from Point A (not running at all) to Point Z (batsh*t crazy about it) but in reality, it’s a bit of a process.

These are my honest and realistic tips for making running a habit and (hopefully) falling in love with it. It’s not all sunshine and unicorns, but I promise if you end up loving it, it’s worth it.

1. Start slow and don’t be afraid to walk.

Oftentimes new runners expect to lace up their Nikes and head out for a 5 mile run. They end up sorely disappointed and never wanting to run again. If you’re brand new to running, start with run/walk intervals. We all have to start somewhere. I promise you, most runners (yes, even marathon runners) started off barely being able to run a mile.

10 Tips for Falling in Love with Running & Making it a Habit

2. Find your tribe.

Having another person or a group to run with at least once a week will get you out of bed in the morning when you otherwise might hit the snooze button. Accountability is key when attempting to make running a habit. Running groups are popping up all over the place and they’re typically full of friendly faces.

3. Celebrate small victories.

Don’t wait until you run a race to celebrate or call yourself a runner. Every time you run a new personal distance record, rejoice! When you run 10 seconds faster than usual, own it. You’re a bad ass and you don’t need a 26.2 sticker on your car to prove it.

4. Set goals – big and small.

Maybe you want to run a marathon but you’ve never run more than a mile. That’s ok! The marathon can be your long term goal but set smaller, short term goals to get you there. For instance, set a goal of running 3 days each week for the next month or sign up and train for your first 5k. Conquering each small goal will build your confidence and give you the momentum you need to eventually reach your big goal.

10 Tips for Falling in Love with Running & Making it a Habit

5. Put yourself out there.

I am a big believer in the power of sharing your goals and aspirations with the world. Tell your family, your friends and even the social media world what you’re setting out to do. It will help to hold you accountable and you’ll likely find a ton of people willing to support you in your running endeavors. You may even inspire others to start running, too!

6. Make rest a priority.

Sleep and recovery are an essential part of running so don’t skimp on your Zzz’s. Rest is the time when the benefits of your running take effect. Exhaustion is a real problem – avoid it by taking care of yourself and resting.

7. Reward yourself – but not with food.

It’s easy to feel like you deserve a trip to the donut shop after a nice, hard run but try to resist (most of the time). New runners may actually gain weight when they begin running because they overcompensate for the calories burned. Gaining a few pounds will only make you resent running, so let’s try to avoid that. Instead, reward yourself with a massage, a new pair of shorts or a pedicure if you reach your goals.

10 Tips for Falling in Love with Running & Making it a Habit

8. Mix it up.

Try different places and ways of running to avoid boredom. Explore new running routes, run at different times of the day, or run while watching Netflix on the treadmill. Venture out of your comfort zone and keep it fresh. Mix in some other forms of physical activity (Pilates, TRX classes, yoga, etc.) to avoid burnout.

9. Give it time.

Almost nobody likes running when they first begin. Your lungs burn, your legs hurt, you’re out of breath, and it can be downright exhausting. These things will subside over time as you get into better running shape. That euphoric feeling while running is within reach – you just have to be patient and keep at it.

10. Reframe your Mindset.

You don’t have to run, you get to run. When you shift your thinking and treat it as a privilege rather than a chore, it changes everything. At the end of the day, no one else really cares whether you run or not so it should never feel like an obligation. The only person who it really affects is you – for the better.

10 Tips for Falling in Love with Running & Making it a Habit

These tips require discipline and dedication but if you’re someone who truly wants to make running a habit and embrace the runner lifestyle, they will be very helpful in your endeavors. I watch so many people give up on running before it gets good, so I encourage you to hang in there a little longer!

As much as I advocate running, I also realize that it’s not for everybody. Don’t force yourself to do something if you truly hate everything about it. Maybe CrossFit is your jam or Pilates is more your scene. Find what makes your soul sing and sweat in a way that brings you joy. Find your thing, whatever it may be.

10 Tips for Falling in Love with Running & Making it a Habit

Kate Buntenbach
Kate Buntentbach, Certified Run Coach
Kate is an avid marathon runner, Certified Run Coach, San Diego transplant, and full-time marketing professional.  She has run six marathons, countless half marathons and has three BQs (and several injuries) under her belt. Through her active blog and run coaching she inspires others to run distances and paces they never thought possible.

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