Many times we feel like we need to make a schedule or plan things out before jumping into it. That is what I thought when I considered running. In high school I never enjoyed running and avoided it during my workouts many times. I would go to the gym and work on strength training mostly. I seemed in good physical shape but I never included cardio into my workout. Incorporating cardio is a crucial step in getting in shape and it is great for your heart!

So while in college I just got up one day and went for a run. I didn’t time myself and I have no idea how far I even went but all I knew was it felt awful. Like anything, it’s always difficult the first time and if you stick to it, you will become better at it! So that is what I did. I continued to run almost every day. Six years later, I’m still running and actually enjoying it!

My first bit of advice is to just go out and do it! It won’t feel awesome and it will seem difficult but you have to just jump into it. I have a few tips to stay on track with running and making sure you see results. These are from my personal experiences and they worked!

Set Goals. You won’t know if you’re making any progress if you don’t set goals. They don’t have to be out of your reach but they should be something to work towards. Maybe set a distance you would like to run or a period of time you would like to run for. Also, your goal could be to run a certain number of days per week. I started by running a mile every other day and then I would increase my distance when I wasn’t feeling challenged. Of course you should keep setting goals as you reach them and challenging yourself.

• Sign up for a race.  This was my biggest motivation and what really got me hooked on running. I started running at the end of summer and signed up for a race at Christmas time. This gave me a lot of time to train but I knew I wanted to do well. For my first race, I set a goal of finishing in thirty minutes. I ended up finishing in twenty-eight minutes and it was such an adrenaline rush! I sign up for a few races a year to keep me motivated. Races are a lot of fun and usually I run a better time in races than when I train on my own So sign up for races from time to time to challenge yourself!

• Run with a buddy. At first I wasn’t really fond of this idea. My roommate in college was a marathon runner and I was very intimidated to run with her. But it helped me so much. She would come pick me up after she had ran seven or eight miles and run the last two with me. It helped keep me running at a consistent pace and time went faster! You end up challenging each other. If you don’t feel like running a certain day, your buddy will motivate you to get out and run! Often times I run alone and enjoy that as well. I find it relaxing to pop on my headphones and zone out. But when I need a challenge I run with a friend.

• It’s okay to walk.  When I first started running I thought it was always a bad thing to stop and walk. Walking is absolutely okay. You’re still getting a great cardio workout. Keep up a good pace even when walking and you’ll burn fat and get a great workout. It is actually beneficial to do intervals that include walking, running and sprinting. So mix it up and incorporate different paces! It’s better to start walking when you can’t run anymore than to quit all together.

These were all things that I did to keep me motivated and now I really enjoy running and have stuck with it. You will find what works for you and everyone is different but these are solid tips to follow to keep you going when you don’t want to go anymore!

So get out there and start!