What gets you out the door to run each day? How do you stay motivated? How do you lace up your running shoes when you really don’t feel like hitting the streets or trails?

The answer is different for everyone – you are an experiment of one – but there are several ways to increase your chances of doing your daily run and continually enjoying it.

Schedule your run like any other meeting: If you have regularly scheduled runs and places to meet it becomes easier. Put your runs on your calendar and it becomes a priority. Eventually it will become your favorite habit.

Find a group or a friend: When you run with others it becomes harder to miss a running appointment. For most runners it is more enjoyable to run in the company of friends. Time passes more quickly and you share everyone’s successes in running and in life.

Enter a race: For most people entering a race becomes a fun commitment to train properly and a challenge to try and run faster. Runners realize there is a direct correlation between how well and consistently you train and how you will run in the race.

Learn about your sport: Reading health related articles about the benefits of running and an active lifestyle make you more aware of what a great thing you are doing for your body and spirit when you hit the roads and trails. It’s the best gift you can give to yourself each day.

Mix it up: Don’t get in a rut of always running in the same location each day. Running and your life become more interesting if you run trails and hills, rather than always pounding the pavement. Choose different locations, terrain, and challenges when you can.

Get Competitive: Try to improve your times by doing some speed work and faster running on some of your training days. Even if it is just short “pickups” from telephone pole to telephone pole, it improves your efficiency as a runner and leg turnover. Compare your times from one race to another and challenge yourself to do better. Pick a “nemesis” who you want to beat and know that they are out there training every day. Try to beat them in your next race. Make yourself a faster runner.

Take it Easy: On the other hand, if you are naturally competitive and feel a bit burnt out by always “training” and being race ready, then step back and take it easy for awhile. Don’t enter any races for 3 or 4 months. Just go out and run easy and run with joy. Learn to enjoy the act of running and feeling good in the moment.

Take on a new challenge: Tired of the same old 5 and 10K’s? Challenge yourself and add variety by entering some trail races; or pick a new distance and location. Look for 8K’s or 20k’s or try to do an ultra. Choose a vacation destination and look for a race there. Try an overseas marathon. The possibilities are endless to spice up your Running Life.

List your reasons to run: Go ahead make yourself a list of all the benefits of running. Then take a few days off and see how you miss it. Come back eager to get out the door and run.

Volunteer at a local race or get someone new started in the sport: When you help at a race or see someone new get started the eager enthusiasm is infectious.

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Are you Race Ready?

We are entering the summer racing season and most of you have entered some important local races. You might have a sense that you are ready to set some Personal Records but how do you tell for sure? We’ve developed another self administered test that you can pull out and take a few days before your next race to judge just how ready you are to run fast. So get out your scorecard, and let’s get started!

Followed the Training Plan: You had a well conceived training plan you followed to the letter obsessively for the last 3 months - Score 10. You followed a training plan, except for a few missed days here and there, for the last 2 months - score 7. You didn’t have a plan – but ran very consistently for the last 2 months – score 5. You’ve been running a few times a week for the last 2 months – score 3. You just realized you have a race this coming weekend – score minus 1.

WEIGHT: You look so skinny that your friends ask you if you have been sick – score 10. You are at the lowest weight you have been in the last 3 months – score 8. You have maintained your goal “happy” weight for the past month – score 5. You’ve gained a few pounds lately but you are sure it’s all muscle – score 3. Let’s go have another donut – score minus 1.

Speedwork: You have been doing speedwork consistently over the past 2 months and your times have been getting faster on the track – score 10. You have been doing speedwork once a week for the past 2 months – score 8. Occasionally you try some faster running on the roads or track – score 5. You don’t do speedwork but know what it is – score 1. You don’t know what speedwork is – score minus 1.

Shoes: You are going to run your race in racing flats – score 10. You don’t own racing flats but are going to run in your lowest weight shoes – score 7. You are going to wear your most comfortable running shoe – score 5. You only own one pair of running shoes – 1 point. You are going to buy a new pair of shoes for the race – score minus 3.

Attitude: You are totally going to “go for it” and try to set a Personal Record – you know it’s going to hurt - score 15. You aren’t totally confident, but feel pretty good about your fitness and don’t mind feeling a little pain – score 8. You are going to start conservatively then ease into speed mode – score 5. You are going to be social and enjoy the scenery – score minus 1. You don’t know what pain is – score minus 5.

OK it’s time for the results! Check your race–ready score and place it in one of the following groups:

50 to 55: As good as it gets. You are ready. Just go do it.
38 to 49: Be confident. It looks for sure like you will have a good race.
25 to 37: This is OK. No P.R’s for you, but a good consistent time you’ll be happy with.
15 to 24: Have you ever been called a “plodder”?
Under 15: We certainly applaud you for being off the couch and participating. Have fun.

Best wishes to everyone in your upcoming races.

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