Getting started and making something a habit is hard for most of us, especially if it’s something new.
5 Ways To Help You Make Trail running a Habit
1. Sign Up For a Race or Join a Running Group
Signing up for a race is a huge motivator and can be the incentive you need to hit those trails. Running for exercise is one thing but training for something bigger than any one run, something that might seem downright impossible, is an entirely different experience.
Not everyone likes having goals, and not everyone likes racing, but once you've laid that money down and signed up you will be surprised how inspired you can get. The like minded people you will meet in a running group or clinic will help keep you out in those trails as well.
2. Walk Before You Run
When you are starting out it is a lot of run walking and when you are running it is at a slow pace. This hard for people to do if they are coming off of an injury, been a runner in the past or have a competitive personality. Try getting into the trails and hiking some longer hard hills rather than trying to run right off the bat. This will help with your endurance and leg strength, as well as strengthen your muscles, tendons and bones to the uneven surfaces. Then when you are ready to start running, your leg strength and cardio will be right there with you.
3. Run Slower Than You Think You Need To
In my experience when I chat with clients about running, one of the biggest misconceptions is Pace.
When you are starting out it is a lot of run walking, when you are running it is at a slow pace. Start with run walking, depending on your level of fitness you could run easy on the flats, walk the hills, and easy down the descent. The Bulk of your running should be at an easy pace with one day a week that you can hammer it. Whether that be a hill or speed training session, this is where you can happy make your run hard to help advance your running.
These once a week sessions is another great reason to join a running clinic or a group as it's way more fun to suffer together than alone.
4. Make It Your Experience
Trail running should be fun! You are out on a trail with the sights and sounds of nature all around you. But wait.. maybe you don't like the sounds of nature! No problem, no barefoot trail running purest here, there is always music. Make a playlist and rock it out on the trails (please leave one earbud out for safety) if this is what you need. Make trail running your happy place by going the pace you want, listening to what you want, running with friends, a pet, or not. The trail is a great place to get it all out of your system. Had a bad day? Pick this day to do speed training. Feeling super sluggish and tired? Well this is a perfect hill hiking day. Mad at your partner/coworker? Oh yah Hammer that hill training....
Your running is about you for you.
5. Reward Reward Reward
Ok Im not going to lie, this is my favourite one.
I Like food! Like is not really expressing it. I LOVE food, my friends tease me that if I ate as much as I talked about food I would be in trouble. Little do they know this is the reason I started to run. I know that they say (not sure who they is) you should not reward yourself with food, but I feel after a good week of doing all the runs I should get to eat all the fries!! So I'm going to.. Then I will do all my runs again the next week and repeat that fry thing LOL.
If food reward is not your thing, you have signed up for a race, completed a running clinic or ran the runs with your running group a new pair of running shorts, sock, shirt or heck all three may be in order.
Making a goal or commitment and completing it is a huge deal. Celebrate yourself and your accomplishment, be kind to you and your body, now lets hug it out!!