Pick a route you really like.

For several years, some of my friends have repeatedly tried to start running and somehow weave it into their lifestyle. Most of these attempts to “get into shape” — ie reach a fitness goal — have taken place in the spring, when the weather is nice, the mood is up and the Greek summer is right around the corner.

However, none of my friends outside the gym are — or have been — consistent runners. Most people will go run a few times in the spring, go on a diet in parallel, lose a couple of pounds and then forget all about it, get back to a sedentary lifestyle and iterate next spring. It seems that very few people can maintain a running routine for a few weeks, as much as needed until it starts to become a habit.

Though many have promised (themselves) to come run together, they almost never do. Thanks to my friends, I end up running alone or with running partners from the gym. Why? I think because these are people who already have the athletes’ mindset and they have already built the habit. It is much easier for them to just join me for a run like it’s no big deal because for them, there is no/little mental friction involved.

But new runners, friends who are just getting started, they need to fight back against lots of mental friction. And they need to fight for long enough to allow the habit to formulate. For them, mental challenges are really hard to put up with while experiencing physical challenges (breathing, exhaustion, body temperature, aches etc). Some examples:

It seems that running or thinking about it makes you want to quit. What can you do?

Piece of advice that helped me keep going: face the mental challenge first. Start with a reasonable goal: that habit we were talking about.

Building and maintaining a habit is not a fitness goal. It is a behavioral goal essential to runners/fitness enthousiasts of all levels.

If you are just starting, don’t monitor your performance. Monitor your mood. Help your mind build the habit. You can deal with fitness goals a little bit later, a lot easier.

Strategic designer, digital transformation trainer.

Strategic designer, digital transformation trainer.