The 11 Steps for Making Running a Habit for Life
With that said, just because we humans are creatures of habits, developing and maintaining healthy habits—especially the running habit—is no easy feat.
But fret no more.
Today you’re going to learn some valuable lessons to help you turn your existing running routine into a habit.
So are you excited? Then here we go…
1. Start Small
Most people who start off a running program sabotage their new resolution by running too much too soon. This wrong approach is the recipe for disaster, and will only lead to injury, a severe burnout, and unneeded resentment.
As a beginner, you must start with an extremely manageable and realistic goal and work up from there.
Therefore, make sure to start small.
Starting small—like opting for the walk-run method or just doing a short run around the block—will make running easy to stick to in your first few weeks—which is something that can make or break your running resolution.
“A short run is better than none” this is one of my favorite affirmations, and it usually gets me out of the door when I’m running low on willpower, and motivation. This resonates even more with beginner runners.
Whatever you want to achieve—whether it’s losing 20 pounds, running a 10K, or just be able to jog for 20-minute without losing your breath—make sure your goal is realistic and small.
The walk-run method
The ideal approach to make running a habit—especially if you are beginner—is to start with the walk-run method as the gateway to your running program. Here is the beginner running program you need for that.
2. Come Up With a Running Plan
Once you have decided to start running and had set a goal, you must back up your vision with a concrete plan.
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” An adage from the world of management.
Make a list and plan thoroughly everything that’s related to your running, from running route, the time, the type of run, the music playlist and anything that’s a part of your training routine.
Also, plan also your rewards, like a delicious post-run smoothie, a massage, hot shower, anything that gets you going. These rewards will motivate you to run, which is good for the long term.
When you are done with this, write down your exact plan to the letter, and post it where you can see it on a daily basis
3. Turn Your Plan Into a Ritual
Next thing t do, after coming up with a concrete plan, is to “ritualize” your running.
This is something I learned from Tony Schwarz, the author of “The Power of Full Engagement”, a highly acclaimed book on productivity and personal management. In fact, this is a must read if you are serious about making lasting changes in your life.
So what’s a ritual and how can this help you?
A ritual is a specific set of behaviors that you do at the same time every day, or on the precise and exact days you select.
As a result, if you want to form a ritual, you have to define the specific behaviors—whether it’s running, weight lifting, meditation, you name it—you’ll be engaging in, then perform them at a given moment.
By laying down an exact time for your running routine, you won’t have to burn up energy planning when to get it done.
Plus, a ritual also has a spiritual and religious connotation that makes it more enticing—even if you are not that religious or spiritual.
4. Set a Specific Time For the Ritual
It’s important to choose a particular time of the day to run.
Therefore, decide whether you are more likely (and have the time) to stick with your running ritual in the morning, midday or evening, and stay consistent with that time no matter what.
I’ve set the time of 06:15 a.m. every day, and I usually do my best not to stray from that time, whether I’m going for a run or doing yoga.
“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” ― Benjamin Franklin
To increase the chances of success, make sure to schedule your runs the same way you schedule an important work meeting or family obligation. Make it a must by carving out a slot from your calendar. That’s how to do it if you are serious about making it.