Running has been something that has come and gone throughout my life. In high school, I ran on the cross country and track teams but never had any major success. When I moved to college in 2017, I decided to quit running and focus on school and enjoy the college experience. Although this seemed like a good plan at the time, I found myself lost and wanting something more.
I needed to do something that would keep me on track, and focused, and help me get in touch with myself. Running is a hobby that seems like it has few barriers to entry-a quick google search worded “how to start running” and you can find a multitude of training plans, running guides, logs, etc. Although this is a great start, it says nothing about the mentality needed to stay focused and create healthy and sustainable running habits.
When I first got back into running, it truly seemed impossible. Running around the block was hard, and this made it difficult to motivate me to get out the door. Most runners can agree that running is not always fun, especially when you’re out of shape. That being said, one of the most important things I learned through my journey was to make sure to keep consistent goals and work towards something that will keep you satisfied and engaged. Seeing progress is crucial so whether your goal is to improve times or finish a local race, make sure to have trackable and achievable goals.
Another important note is that a strong community is key. In my case, my goal was to eventually run for my college, so getting in touch with the coach and current athletes was important to build my personal community. Reaching out to local running clubs is a great place to start! Having a support group behind you is so valuable and can help with much of the difficult accountability and structure that running requires.
Finally, implement a plan that works for you. The hardest part for me was finding time and motivation throughout the day while balancing other commitments such as school and work that take priority. Consistency is key, so finding time throughout your schedule-whether it's in the morning, during an afternoon lunch break, or at night after a long day-finding a time that works for you is important. It may seem like a burden at first, but before you know it’ll just be a part of your schedule. Getting into running was one of the hardest things I have done, but also by far the most rewarding. It is never too late to start-lace up those shoes and get after it!