Just when you think you’re going to coin a new term, Google reassures you that you haven’t. Recently I’ve had a couple of people ask me about my running and dietary habits. I warned them that they might regret getting me started on that subject! I love running, and I love encouraging others to get into running. I think that makes me a runvangelist (running evangelist). I doubt the term will achieve the fame of say, Roger Clemens’ “misremembered” (surprisingly, actually having a word origin and usage dating back several centuries). Like most enthusiastic runners, I like to talk about running, but I’d really like to talk about YOU running.
If you don’t think of yourself as a runner at all, or you’d like to start running on a more regular basis for fun or fitness, here’s a few of my basic tips for success:
- Set goals. A training plan helps. What are you training for? Having a goal out in the future, like a 5K in 3 or 4 months, can help you stick with running once you start. I circled the Hospital Hill Half marathon on my calendar when I started running again in mid-February, and I picked a training plan designed to take me back up to that distance.
- Don’t overdo it. Not running regularly? Not running at all? Have no fear – pick a run-walk plan. There are some people (Dean Karnazes comes to mind, who famously got off his bar stool and ran 30 miles on his 30th birthday) who can dive right in, but that’s a recipe for injury and discouragement. The maxim “if a little is good, a lot must be better” does not hold here!
- Make yourself accountable. Log your runs. Pick a day and time you’re going to run with a friend. Annoy your friends on social media.
- Be mindful of your diet. There is no single solution to eating better. It’s lots of little things. For me, it started with giving up HFC soda, and over time I’ve tried to add more greens and other vegetables and avoid “junk carbs” (e.g. bread). I drink water with meals now, for the most part. Don’t beat yourself up when you backslide. Personally, a weekly cheat day helps me with that. Mmm…donuts.
- Have fun! Mix it up. Go to a trail. Run hills. Hit the track. Avoid monotony.