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Tips to Reach Your Running Goals in 2021

Motivation is critical for achieving your running goals if you are a beginner. If running is not a habit, then you need to keep finding ways to get your trainers on until the point running becomes part of your daily routine. Here are some top tips to help you get off your sofa and keep heading out for a run in 2021.

Set A Realistic Goal 

You are not going to go from doing no exercise to running an ultra-marathon overnight. And nor should you. Your body needs to adapt to the new regime and your muscles need time to strengthen and develop. Set yourself a goal that feels achievable for you right now. Be ambitious of course but don’t make the goal impossible, otherwise you will feel like you are failing before you even begin. Each person has a different limit on what they can achieve based on past medical history, self-drive, and the time they can commit to this project. Don’t feel you need to equal someone else’s record and try to keep goals focussed on what you and your body can achieve. 

Break It Down

Every ambitious plan needs to be tackled bit by bit. Progress can feel slow on a long term project unless you set yourself smaller targets within the goal. Perhaps you have decided to enter a marathon next year. Then maybe you need to start by trying to run five kilometers by the end of one month. Or maybe you are already running a good length and your goal is about increasing your speed or improving technique. Break an ambitious goal down into smaller more achievable chunks to track your progress. 

Build It Into Your Routine

Build your exercises into your daily routine as much as possible. Be creative with thinking about how you can adapt your daily life to incorporate more exercise. The more you build it into your routine, the less likely you are to give up and stop altogether. For instance, getting off a bus a stop or two early and running the rest of your way to work, makes running part of your commute. Or not getting in the shower until you have worked up a sweat. All of these little adaptations make space for exercise in our hectic schedule rather than feeling like exercise is just something else that needs to be squeezed in!

Do Other Exercise

Complimentary exercises can help you build strength in your muscles, increase your heart rate, and stamina. If you have never done any exercise, then find gentle ways to begin stretching your body. Consider beginning yoga as a way to build flexibility in your body. Don’t overdo it but building in other exercises can also bring variety to your exercise regime. Variations are crucial if you are someone who can get bored easily or whose attention is easily diverted. 

Tell Others

Don’t keep your goal to yourself. If you tell other people then you will feel pressure to achieve what you set out to achieve. This pressure can be very useful at continuing to motivate you, especially if you are struggling with motivation. Ask others to encourage you from time to time and check-in with you on how your exercise is going. Having conversations can boost motivation and also help you reflect on the progress you might have made. 

Join A Runners Group 

If conversations motivate you, then consider joining a running group as well. Running with others can help you keep pace. The feeling of not letting a group of other runners down can help you get out on those wet and windy days as well. Ask around locally or search online and try to find a running group that is with like-minded people and suits your lifestyle. Some groups may be casual meetups while others may incorporate coaching or work towards a specific race. Don’t be afraid to try out a few different groups until you find one you are comfortable with. 

Invest In Good Gear

If your running clothes are an old crumpled t-shirt and worn-out trainers then you won’t feel inspired to get into them every day. Investing in running gear is a commitment to yourself that you are taking the exercise seriously, and you value the impact it is going to make in your life. High-quality running gear can be affordable and doesn’t need to break the bank. Shop around for discounts but don’t scrimp on quality. Your feet will thank you if you have comfortable trainers that are optimal for your running style. 

Use Apps 

When people say there is an app for everything, that could not be more true than in the world of running. There are a plethora of brilliant apps out there that can help you set goals, track progress, and motivate you. Some of them offer professional advice from world-renowned experts. Others, like Zombies Run, aim to make running more fun and connect you to runners around the world. Similar to the runners’ group, make use of free trials and promotions to try different ones out. If you find one that motivates you, then excellent. If you know fellow runners then ask them what apps they would recommend. 

Motivational Heroes

 Running is a culture that you can become obsessed with because the stories are so inspirational. The likelihood is if you do an online search, you will find someone in a similar position to you who has achieved a lot with their running. Don’t see this as competition (unless the competition will drive you), but use it as an encouragement to motivate you to succeed. Someone like Karen Baas began running after chemotherapy or a 9-year-old running 100KM to help his best friend shows you how running can have such a positive impact on your life. 

Finally, remember running can be enjoyable. The more you do it, the more you will become used to feeling positive about the burning feeling in the muscles. Soon you might even begin to crave that next big run that will help you feel energized to take on the day.