I feel very virtuous right now because I’m back in the habit of running again! And by that I mean I ran a whole two days in a row. On the treadmill both times, due to the dismal weather we’ve been having lately. This is my punishment for laziness over the weekend, when it was nice out both days.
The longer the layoff from running, the harder it seems for me to get back in the habit again. What’s one more day when I’ve already skipped five?
Here are a few ways I’ve successfully overcome this completely ridiculous, purely imagined obstacle.
- Start small
Don’t expect to make up a whole week’s volume in one day. I’ve run as few as two miles at times, just to get back in the habit, if that’s all I can fit in. If you’re tired or you’re busy, it’s easy to let another day slip away, but that’ll just make things harder the next day. (If you’re really, truly tired, then take another day.)
- Start big
This is the exact opposite of what I just said. I don’t know if it’s a smart idea, but I have been known to go out and run 12 miles on a Sunday after not running all week. I had the time, and it felt great to at least get to double-digits in mileage for the week.
- Don’t sit down
Monday I came home, fed my cats, and immediately got into my workout clothes and got my butt downstairs to the treadmill. I didn’t sit down and turn on the TV, or check 8 different websites, or even get a little homework done. When I do that, I waste time and have to shorten my workout to get done before dinner. Or I don’t do it at all.
- Incentivize the workout
Don’t run the same boring route. Pick a new route, or pick your favorite route. Pick the easiest route, or the toughest route, depending on what will make you feel better at the end. I did repeats on the treadmill to mix it up. In better weather, I pick a great trail or a road route that has some great views. Of course, I live in a beautiful city on a great lake, so that’s easy for me to say. Bring music, promise yourself candy at the end of the run, whatever gives you a sufficient kick in the butt.
- Ignore the scale
(Just bypass this if you’re one of those people who thinks running for any other reason besides the love of the sport somehow cheapens and denigrates it. Just bypass this whole blog, in fact.) This advice is kind of dependent on how long the layoff is. At some point, if I haven’t run in awhile and haven’t been eating well either, I do have to face the music. But I don’t see a point to doing a weekly weigh-in when I haven’t run in 5 days. It’s only going to further discourage me if I’ve gained a pound or so. I’ll just wait til the following week, when I’ve already gotten back on my feet. This applies to people in maintenance mode, too. If you don’t normally weigh in, don’t assess the “damage” of your time off. I don’t really know if people do that, as I’m not in a position to be so laissez-faire with my weight.
Those are just a few ideas that have worked for me that I thought I’d pass along. I’m sure I’ll need motivation again someday soon (like when it’s -20 F, the streets are covered in ice, the sidewalks are unplowed, and I’m facing another treadmill slog), so send any other tips my way.