Learn How To Make Running A Habit By Reading ‘Run For Good’
One of the hardest parts about running, if not the hardest, is finding the drive to get out there get it done. We might start off on our fitness journey strong, but lack of motivation, busy schedules, and other obstacles become major hurdles to jump over. We find ourselves not sticking to the plan and having to start over, and over, and over again. What we need to do is learn how to make running a habit.
And this is exactly what the book Run For Good: How To Create A Lifelong Running Habit teaches.
Written by certified running coach and personal trainer Christine Many Luff, Run For Good serves as a great beginners guide as to how to become consistent with running. But it also appeals to veterans who might be looking for motivation or who have taken some time off and are looking to get back to running. Luff reminds the reader that we all started running for the first time once, so we are all able to relate.
Luff, who has written for various sports and fitness publications and websites, uses her expertise both as a writer and as a coach to assert an authoritative voice that is nicely written in a very conversational tone. A runner herself, she quickly gains the reader’s trust.
The book itself is easy to read, quick and to the point, but filled with gems of wisdom. Many of her statements are backed with studies and references to other runnings books.
How To Make Running A Habit
Run For Good details in-depth how to make running a habit– and enjoyable habit at that. Here are some of the main points.
1. Set Small Goals
One of the best pieces of advice in the book is the idea of making mini habits. Often we set big goals, which is great but can be harder to reach with a higher chance of throwing in the towel if there is a huge leap required to complete it. A new runner might have a marathon on their bucket list but would benefit more from making a 5k their first priority goal in order to stick with running.
But more than race goals, Luff talks about immediate rewards and goals to set.
“I encourage them to set up some extrinsic rewards so that they’re working toward a goal. When you start running, it’s tough to achieve intrinsic rewards such as a feeling of accomplishment, especially when the running feels really difficult,” Luff tells RunnerClick. “But if you set up little rewards as you’re progressing, you’ll be more motivated to keep going. Rewards can be things such as a new pair of running socks, an Epsom salt bath, or a post-run cup of coffee. They can also be connected to your run, such as listening to a podcast or watching a show on Netflix while on the treadmill. As you progress with running, you’ll start craving your rewards, which will help you push through those feelings that it’s too hard.”
2. Plan Your Run AND Make The Time
“A big key to habit formation success is to plan, plan, plan.” Luff writes in the book.
A person is more likely to run when they plan out their schedule, carving out the time to do so. Luff suggests planning for the week on a Sunday in order to be prepared. Plan out the day, time and place of the run for a better chance of staying on course.
“To start a running habit, you need to MAKE time for running, rather than just expect that time to magically appear,” she adds in the book.
She stresses the importance of making running a priority, and people will be surprised at how easy they can find the time to fit in a run if they just tried.
“I suggest that new runners plan out their weeks and schedule runs as if they are appointments that they can’t miss,” Luff tells us. “Also, take a hard look at how you’re spending your time each day and try to determine what you can do differently to make more time for running. Block off your time for running on your calendar and then check off that your run is complete, so you can have a visual reminder of your progress.”
Other tips she shares in the book include running on Mondays to start the week off on a strong note.
“I encourage runners to run in the morning, if and when they can, as people who exercise in the morning are much more consistent than those who exercise at other times,” she tells us. “Try to create running rituals, like running with a friend every Sunday morning or doing a race with your running club once a month, so that running becomes part of your regular routine.
3. Tell Others And Find Support
Another great way to make running a habit is to tell others about the newfound hobby. Sharing the excitement to family, friends and on social media provides a way to continue to stay passionate about it and adds a layer of accountability. Even more so when asking a friend to join for a run.
“Running with others is one of the most important strategies you can use to establish an enduring running habit,” Luff tells us.“The power of community is tremendous.”
Find that support system in a running group or search for a running coach to help stay on track and progress in the sport.
“A running mentor, coach, or running partner can help motivate you, hold you accountable, and answer questions,” the coach for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training tells us. “Running with others can also be more entertaining, stimulating, and safer than running alone,” she adds.
Running For Good
The main message in Run For Good is that it’s possible to make running a habit. “I’ve seen research that says it can take anywhere from three weeks to more than 200 days to create a habit, but I think it truly depends on the person,” Luff tells us. “However, I believe that most people can establish a running habit in 30 days.”
Included in the book is a 30-day beginner running schedule, allowing readers to take advantage of her personal coaching expertise. Start with these 30 days and then continue with the habit.
The hardest part is starting, but her message here is to just keep on running.
1. Focus on Form
Luff writes that simple fixes in running form can help ease the discomfort to make running feel more effortless.
“Discomfort while running is a big reason why some runners get discouraged and may give up on the sport,” Luff writes.
The book details what makes up good running form and how to achieve it, such as running tall, and swinging the arms at the shoulders, not the elbows, and running. Start running at a conversational pace and work up speed the more advanced the runner becomes.
“I think a lot of new runners try to do too much too soon, which leads them to think it’s too difficult and want to give up,” Luff tells us. “I encourage new runners to do a run/walk strategy and take walk breaks when they can’t run at a conversational pace. Try to practice deep belly breathing as you’re running – it will make running feel easier and help you avoid those pesky side stitches. Stick to a beginner schedule and repeat days or weeks if you don’t feel ready to increase your time or distance.”
2. Stop Making Excuses
It’s easy to make excuses like we are too tired or too busy. But overcoming this mentality to stop making excuses helps to make us stronger mentally. To quit making excuses, Luff writes that we need to have the tools ready for when the negativity hits.
“Runners need to be prepared for the excuses that can keep them from sticking to their running schedule,” she tells us. “If bad weather is in the forecast, make sure you have a Plan B, such running on a treadmill or doing a strengthening workout at home. If you know you get bored easily, vary your running routes or listen to music while you’re running. Having strategies ready to fight the excuses that pop up will make it easier to overcome them.”
Being able to adapt like when poor weather hits or when needing to choose a new route or running time can further help us to keep running for good—no matter what.
3. Overcome Mental Obstacles
More than just having the plan, runners need a strong mentality to match the ever getting stronger body when it comes to running for good.
“I also talk a lot about the importance of positive self-talk. Rather than telling themselves that running is too hard and they can’t do it, new runners need to create a positive dialogue with themselves,” Luff advises. “They can say things like, ‘I’m going to feel better when I go for a run,’ or ‘I’ve done hard things before. I can do this.’ Once they’ve finished a run, they should reward themselves with positive statements like, ‘You did it! You’re making incredible progress.’”
Runners need to learn to stop running with their legs sometimes and lead with their heart. This is developed over time, as both endurance and grit are formed.
A good tip to overcoming mental roadblocks is to bring fun back into running or simply keep the mind off the hard effort of the run.
“When possible, try to combine running with another activity, so you can feel like you’re getting more accomplished. Luff says. “For example, run while listening to an audiobook or podcast or run with a friend so that you’re also socializing during your run.”
Run For Good is a great running book for those looking to start running or find real ways to make the activity stick long-term. With on-point advice and the discussion of common issues and concerns, Luff pens a book that serves as a go-to guide when needing that extra ump for those wanting to take running seriously.
Luff reminds us why we fell in love with running, and how important it is to remember these reasons. Without coming down hard on the reader, she inspires us to dust off those running shoes and give it another go.
She concludes the book with do’s and don’t’s, making it extremely easy to now use the knowledge learned and go and practice what she preaches. Ending with training plans, Run For Good makes the reader want to start running now.