Many of you may be in the midst of working toward an early season running goal. Perhaps you are preparing to tackle your first 5K, or your first 10-miler through the =PR= Cherry Blossom Training Program. Maybe you have your sights set on achieving a personal best in the marathon this year.
Whatever your goal, we know from our own experiences as runners and walkers that there will be challenges you’ll encounter along the way to the finish line. From a harsh winter to unexpected work or family needs, life often tries to get in the way of our “perfect plans” to achieve our goals.
If you made a New Year’s resolution that 2015 would be the year you begin including exercise in your life, you’ve had a couple of months to settle into a healthier lifestyle. Chances are you’ve encountered some road blocks that threatened to get you off track, and maybe you were even tempted to quit your new routine. If that’s you, you’re not alone!
To help you stay motivated to achieve your personal goals, we’ve compiled some techniques that have worked for us through tough times. Some of our most accomplished runners at Potomac River Running are also the same runners who have endured some of the most difficult hurdles in their lives. We hope one of these tips will help you renew your motivation, stay the course, and ultimately help you achieve your goals.
- Press the “Reset” Button. If you’ve gotten off track, take a step back and reflect on why you began training or simply including more movement into your day. Are your reasons still meaningful to you? Maybe you have new reasons to add to your list. Remember, it’s NEVER too late to make a fresh start.
- Visualize! If the cold weather is keeping you from sticking to your plan, try visualization and even “mental rehearsal” to imagine yourself layering your running clothing, gloves, hat and socks, tying your running shoes and walking out the door. Envision yourself enjoying the run or walk, and finishing strong. Visualization is a great way to strengthen your resolve to accomplish any task.
- Use your run as much-needed “Me” time. Some runners find it beneficial to run solo, seeing their run as a chance to clear the mind, reconnect with their deepest thoughts, and even think through challenges in other aspects of their lives. Many of us have started a run with a problem to solve, and more often than not, we end our run with a creative solution.
- Tap into accountability partners. Sometimes we need an extra nudge to get out the door and make it happen. Getting plugged into a group of like-minded runners or walkers will often be the appointment in your diary that you need to stay committed to your goal. At Potomac River Running we offer as many options as possible during the week for you to find your favorite group to run with. Whether it’s a fun run from our stores, a group training to achieve a shared race goal, or just a group of running friends who are making fitness, good conversation, and a post-run beer the priority, there are a number of ways to find your accountability partners.
- Try something new. Try mixing up your run routes, the terrain, and don’t be afraid to explore new paths. If you’ve always been a “road runner,” consider giving the trails a try.
Remind yourself of all the benefits running or walking can provide. Including exercise and movement in your life is not a magic pill or solution to our problems, and of course it doesn’t guarantee happiness. But when you include it as part of your day, it can help you cope with stress, reach new levels of strength and fitness, and serve as a catalyst to achieving your goals and becoming the best version of yourself.