How to Stick to a Running Plan (When All You Want to Do Is Slide Off)
Starting to run is one thing. Continuing to run is another.
If you started hitting the pavement in the fall, odds are a bit higher that you’re not feeling it so much now as it would be if you had started during another part of the year.
Why is that? Well, when you start to run in the fall, the conditions are often fantastic. It’s not too hot. There’s a nice, crisp breeze. Then the leaves start turning and falling and it’s just beautiful!
Then comes the “Fall Wall.”
The days start getting shorter. The temperature keeps dipping colder. By the time Daylight Saving Time ends and Thanksgiving looms on the horizon, the will to run trips and falls flat on its face.
If you’re feeling that way, it’s nothing to be ashamed about. But we also suggest you don’t give up just yet. Reigniting your push for running can have great effects for you, even when things feel challenging!
Let’s run through a few suggestions for keeping your running routine firing on all cylinders, but it’s important that we go over something important first.
Pain IS a Good Reason to Stop Running
When we’re talking about sticking to a running plan, we are not trying to tell you that you should run in spite of any pain you might be feeling when you do it.
Aside from a slight muscular ache that tends to come the day after a run, any form of pain that is happening while you run or has been lasting consistently day after day is a sign that something is wrong. Cut your running routine and give us a call if the problem is felt in your feet or ankles. We can get to the source of the problem and recommend treatments and changes that can get you moving again with a whole lot fewer problems.
If your challenges are more motivational, though, here are some further tips.
Make Sure You Have Well Established Goals
Pursuing an activity with no goal in mind makes it all that much easier to give up on.
Of course, setting goals that are unreasonable can be just as bad once you realize just how much you’re asking of yourself!
A running goal, just like any other goal should follow the “SMART” protocol:
Putting these parameters to work, “I want to be a good runner” is not going to cut it. Instead, try a goal like, “I want to run 5K without having to stop or walk by the end of May.”
Once you have a goal, write it out and keep it posted where you can see it.
Increase Your Accountability
It can be very easy to set goals for yourself and then just let them slide. Pretty much all of us have been at this point at some time in our lives.
At these times, having a buddy you can report to who understands your goals can be a major motivational help. Studies even suggest that those who share their goals with others instead of keeping them secret will be much more likely to achieve them!
If you don’t have a friend who “gets” the whole running thing, your local running community can help! Up-N-Running in Ebensburg not only equips runners, but can help hook you up with other runners of different levels as well. You could even take part in their monthly “Shoes & Brews” runs.
Don’t be afraid to bring up your short- and long-term goals with other runners. Even if they’re elite, they had to start somewhere as well.
Fight the Boredom
Boredom can sometimes be a killer of a running routine more than anything else. This can be especially true if winter weather takes your routine indoors or on a treadmill.
The coming season can be especially tough this way, but you can fight back. Make your running time a time to enjoy something else as well. Pick up a podcast you enjoy, or use your running time to start an audiobook.
Don’t underestimate the power of self-reward, either. Plan out some treats for achieving certain milestones and take time to enjoy them once you do. Just don’t cheat on them, all right?
Another idea that might work for you is switching up the ways and times of your runs. This might be harder to accomplish with winter restrictions, but getting out now and then when you can—or switching from treadmill to indoor track—can make a big difference in keeping things feeling more fresh.
Don’t feel like you must always run toward your goals, too. If you have time for only a quick, 10-15-minute session, that can be a very refreshing and worthwhile use of your time!
Don’t Overdo It
If you find you’re too sore or too fatigued following a run, you might be pushing yourself too hard. Keep that up and you could be on track to an overuse injury.
Try reducing your intensity some to see if you still maintain a challenge without so much strain. If you would like help determining the best ways to keep your feet and ankles in running shape, we will be more than happy to help.
You Can Always Start Again
Even if you have fallen hard off a running program, you can always pick yourself up and try again. You would be far from the first to do so, and definitely far from the last! The only true failure is when you give up for good.
At Premier Podiatry Group, we’re here to help you any way we can to achieve your goals—whether they’re running a marathon or simply being able to get out of bed in the morning without heel pain. Give us a call at (814) 472-2660 or fill out our online contact form to have a member of our staff reach out to you.