How to Get Fit for Running (Again)

Want to get into shape quickly? Run. It really is that easy, and yet, I find myself slacking off when life gets hectic. I'm a big lover of cardio, so running and cycling are my jam. Before I set a goal revolving around one of those sports, I work to rebuild my base level of fitness.

I consider myself less-than-fit (underfit?) if I can't run three miles fairly easily twice in a single week. Instead of making myself feel crummy about my laziness, I use these tips to ease back into a fitness routine.

1. Just go to the gym. I tell myself I only have to use the elliptical for 20 minutes. Lame, right? Except it works. And once I'm there, I can't stand to just do 20 minutes, so I do 30 or 40 minutes. I meet my goal and leave the gym with the knowledge that getting back to a base level of fitness is doable and worth it. Is it a killer workout? No. But the goal wasn't a workout. It was getting to the gym.

2. Bribe. I'm big on goals. I know it seems kid-like, but bribes work for me. My goal, when easing back into a routine, might be run three times this week, three miles each workout. Accomplish that and get a new album - something small but enjoyable for a long time. I try not to reward with food, but I have succumbed to the taste bud love that is Chipotle, and since that's a reasonably healthy choice, it complements my goal for health.To keep myself on track with a bigger goal, say running a 5k every month of the year, I will entice myself with a bigger prize. That might be a weekend in Denver or Boulder.

3. Sign up for a race or organized ride. Having a target is the biggest key for me, and it's precisely what I like about running and cycling. Picking a 5k or 10k that's a few months out allows me time to get fit, but because it's really not that distant, I can't blow off training and I don't feel overly committed either. A race or organized ride keeps me focused, especially since I also have some skin in the game: I paid a registration fee and I'll feel like a dork wearing a T-shirt for an event I didn't actually finish.

4. Change the environment. Sometimes I recognize that I'm just tired of my gym, so I go out of my way to the chain's second location. New layout. New faces. Changing the environment often helps. The same is true for my running route. I prefer running and riding for miles, not time, but sometimes I need to give myself permission to just go run for 30-45 minutes or ride 60-90 minutes anywhere in any direction and that's how I stumble into new courses and keep my enthusiasm fresh while working toward my goal.

When starting a new or restarting an old fitness routine, I keep it positive. Negative self-talk isn't allowed because it only deters me from my ultimate goal: Get out, get fit, feel good!

Do you have ways and means of re-motivating yourself? Tell us in the comments ... your tip just might make the difference for another reader!
Juliette Rule
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Juliette Rule
Juliette Rule manages social media and public relations for Sierra Trading Post. When she's not collaborating with her talented team of social media experts, she's riding her mountain bike or road bike - in every Colorado season. She lives in Fort Collins, Colo., with her rescued Australian cattle dog, Maszlo.
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