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!
posted by
Juliette Rule
Juliette Rule is a former social media and public relations manager for Sierra Trading Post. She loves riding her mountain bike or road bike - in every Colorado season. Juliette lives in Fort Collins, Colo., with her rescued Australian cattle dog, Maszlo.
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