Ditch the Pedometer and Go
It looks stupid anyway.
This whole idea of carefully watching your exercise progress through making up fancy charts and tables is something that always frustrates me. Don't get me wrong- there is nothing wrong with wanting to track your progress and see yourself getting better. In theory, that sounds lovely. In fact, if you're somebody who already exercises often, it's just the type of thing you should be doing. But most people are not that person. So let's shift our focus to them.
Stop worrying about the fact that you should have taken 3000 steps on your run and you only took 2000. But better yet, ditch the pedometer altogether and just go. Half the battle with getting yourself into running is just going at all. We live in a world where it's just so easy to come up with 15 different excuses you can tell yourself when you go to bed that night.
"It's too late at night, I had a long day, it's too hot/cold outside, I don't want my neighbors seeing me."
These things might all be true, but ultimately they are not going to mean anything, and they are not going to make you like running any more than you already do. Just get outside, and start going. Who cares if you don't go as far as you want to or as quickly as you would like. You will feel good that you went at all, and ultimately that's the feeling you want to have, as you begin associate feeling good and being happy with exercise!
Whether it's music, books, or a Margaret Thatcher speech.
Chances are you've got a cell phone or an mp3 player of sorts. If you don't, you can go pick one up for under $20, so there really is no excuse as to why you don't have headphones in while you are running.
Many people will disagree when it comes to what you should listen to. Some will swear by audiobooks, some will say you need music that makes you angry, some will say you need music that makes you calm. I say listen to whatever it is that keeps you interested. The more interested you are in something else, the less you're thinking about how sore your knees are or how much you would like to be done exercising. And again, if you are listening to something that you enjoy, it is further association of going running with things that you like.
If you go running at a consistent time and a favorite radio host is on at the time, you can listen to them with the app "TuneIn Radio". If you want to get into audiobooks, "Audible" is the way to go. And as always, the iTunes store has plenty of content.
Get Some Good Sneakers
This is something I really did not want to put in here because it is almost asking people to make excuses ("They're so expensive"). Unfortunately though this is something that really is important, as I have found my feet and ankles in a lot of pain because of purchasing a pair of sneakers that just weren't very good.
Fortunately though, I'm going to go through some tips to make finding a good pair of running sneakers very easy, such that we cut down on those nagging excuses!
- Get something that fits now. If you're still in high school or college, then just suck it up and realize you may grow out of the sneakers. Don't buy something that you think you are going to grow into a year from now. Chances are the sneakers will be shredded by then anyway.
- eBay. Stay away from the major retailers like Foot Locker or Zappos.com. They over price their sneakers like crazy. Just looking now I found the same pair of sneakers new on eBay for $53, and they are $94 on Zappos. If you are worried about getting the wrong size, go to a locker shoe store and try on the brand you are going to buy. If you're looking at a pair of Adidas, go try on a pair of Adidas in the store, not a pair of New Balance, the sizes will differ slightly from brand to brand.
- Stay away from Under Armour. In addition to the sneakers being overpriced, they just naturally seem to always fall apart faster than any others. For me, the classic Nike has always been the best built and most reliable, but that's just me. I also have had good experiences with Puma. But Under Armour has consistently sucked for sneakers, so stick to buying the Cold Gear, not the footwear.
Stop Trying to be Usain Bolt
It's not about starting off fast- it's about finishing at all.
Doesn't really matter how far you plan to run, the first few times you get out there, jog at a slower pace than you think you need to. Stop stressing about getting to your goal at a certain time, and start feeling satisfied that you made it there at all. Too many people get discouraged way too quickly because they start out running at a pace that's way too fast in proportion to the shape they are in or the distance they are trying to cover.
However fast you think you should be going, go a little slower than that. If you feel you have to slow down, that's fine. This ties into what I've written about above, just go. Nobody else in the world cares that you can't run a 6 minute mile like you used to, and neither should you.
Goals are important in exercise, but first you need to be in a position to achieve them. And the only way to get into that position is by being passionate about what you are doing. That's what your first goal should be.