Using the acronym S.U.C.C.E.S.S., here are some ideas for getting you on the path as a beginning runner.
Schedule… Follow one!
Lean on the experts to set you up for success by using a predesigned program for beginning runners. Many of these programs begin gently and progress slowly. This allows your body a chance to adapt and your mind to get used to coping with the demands.
Understanding… Seek it!
There is a lot of science behind getting the body to do something new. Many beginning runner’s clinics will have guest speakers and sources of information. Try approaching your training as an opportunity to learn something new about your body.
Commitment… Make one!
Commitment is rooted in motivation. Be clear about your ‘why’ for wanting to start running. Try to commit to running at least three times per week to see improvement.
Community. Find it!
Feeling supported in your new goal is another big part of motivation. For some people, joining a clinic or running club creates an immediate community where they can feel supported, ask questions, and struggle and celebrate together. Find what community works best for you.
Effort… Give it!
Here’s the biggest secret to success. Just keep going. Effort really is everything. According to Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The power of passion and perseverance, effort transforms talent into skill and then turns skill into achievement. Effort is also a wonderful measure of success and something you can control.
Self-Care… Integrate it!
Good self-care can help you achieve your running goals. Simple things like eating right, keeping hydrated, warming up, and cooling down gives your body the best chance for success. One of the biggest reasons beginning runners stop running is due to injury. Listen to your body and seek help early if needed.
Self-Compassion… Embrace it!
You are doing something that, at times, will be hard. You are not going to be perfect, and it is likely you will experience barriers and obstacles. Self-compassion means being gentle with yourself in difficult situations. Invite more kindness into your training and embrace the struggle for what it is – a chance to learn and grow.
Remember, beginning to run is about more than just achieving the end result. Consider integrating these suggestions into your journey and give yourself the best chance for S.U.C.C.E.S.S.