The First Step is the Hardest, Always.
No matter if you are an experienced runner who has taken an extended hiatus or a spring chicken looking to start a healthy routine, the first step out the door (or on the treadmill) is always the hardest. As someone who has had an on-again, off-again relationship with running for most of my life, I understand this more than I care to. Over the years, there have been times when for one reason or another, I ditched my running shoes in favor of focusing on other things. This last time I had to take the hard first step, was this past November after an 18-month breakup with running.
In the Spring of 2013, I found myself in a good routine. I was training for the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey, I had lots of energy, and life was good. Then May came around. I started studying for the GMAT in hopes of being accepted into the MBA program at UNR (which I did), I realized my 3-year relationship was going nowhere, and my mom had just been diagnosed with cancer. Life got complicated really quick. In between studying, stressing about my relationship, and worrying about my mom, running disappeared. It happens. Life happens.
A few months ago – with a dead-end boyfriend in the rearview mirror, a mom who is responding to treatment well, and an inspiring MBA class on Change Management – I decided it was time for running and I to go steady again. Overflowing with motivation and desire, there was only one thing standing in my way, my out-of-shape physical-self. For anyone that has experienced taking time off and then trying to start where you left off, you know just how hard it can be…especially that first step.
So, what are some tactics you can employ to get on the path to health again? For me, it is about embracing the small victories. Here are some things I do to help get me motivated:
- Commit to just ten minutes. That’s all. By the time I get to ten, I always want to go further.
- Set out running gear the night before in an unavoidable spot, like your bathroom. When I get up in the morning or home from work in the afternoon, it’s in my face and screams, ‘Go!’
- Plan a super-healthy breakfast everyday. It tends to set a positive tone and keeps me eating healthy all day.
- Keep a running log. Documenting miles everyday in a journal is rewarding and helps visualize small (and big) victories.
- Think of life in six months. Will I regret going for that run? No. Will I regret not going? Probably.
Those are some of the things that have helped me take the first step over and over again. Do you have any tricks you would like to share?
I am a lifelong runner hater, but in 2007 I had actually managed to be able to run a mile without stopping. It was a 17 minute mile, but still that was a HUGE accomplishment from a non-runner. Music and a running plan little by little helped me. Then came marriage, honeymoon, two kids and five years later and I’m starting up again. Time does get away from you!
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That is great that you are getting back into it! Run by run and week by week, it will get easier. We got this!
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