Motivation

Ten Running Resolutions For the New Year

I have been running off and on now since I joined the high school cross country team when I was 13 years old. During the off seasons in high school and college, I really didn’t run much. Now I am over ten years removed from my college running days, and I have to really work hard to find time to run.

Every year one of my New Years Resolutions has to do with running. Some years have been more successful than others. I was a great success in 2008. Why? Well, I set some smart goals and stuck to them. This year, I am going to do even better, and so can you.

Here are ten great ideas to help you stick to your running resolution.

1. Get a running buddy. There is strength in numbers, and what a great way to get in shape. You can share your experiences with a friend. Nothing is more motivating than knowing your friend is waiting for you to workout.

2. Join a running club. This is similar to the previous tip, but you can end up with numerous workout partners. In addition to running more, you can develop some friendships that could last a lifetime. My best friend is a teammate of mine from high school cross country. Another running friend I have is my wife. We met when I coached cross country on the boys team, and she was a coach for the girls.

3. Enter in some races. It always helps to have a race looming in the future to keep you motivated. I think the best way to enter in races is to find ones that have cool routes. Find some races and put them on your calendar. I live in Wisconsin, and a friend of mine entered in three races last year. One finished in Miller Park, the Brewers baseball field. The second finished in Camp Randall, the Wisconsin Badgers football field, and the final race finished on Lambeau Field, the Packers football field.

4. Become a coach. I coach cross country because I love the sport, and because I can run with the kids. I don’t have to worry about motivating myself to run when practice is scheduled every school day.

5. Make sure you have time in your schedule for running. Always plan your workouts. Make them a priority. This way, no matter what comes up, you will always have time to run.

6. Set smart goals. Don’t plan on setting any world records. Have an ultimate goal like, “I will run a half-marathon in November.” Make this a possibility by setting smart goals every week such as, “I will run four times this week.” Make sure you make 52 smart goals, one new one for every week.

7. Get a dog that likes to run. There are dog breeds out there that like to run a couple miles a day. How could you resist the sad puppy dog eyes of your best friend wanting to go out for a jog. Make sure you have a dog breed that likes to run though. Don’t force your basset hound into a four miler.

8. Run first thing in the morning. If you plan on running right away, nothing can interfere with your workout. Stuff always comes up later in the day to stop your workout, but not if it is before work.

9. Find great places to run. Look for state parks, trails that go by famous landmarks, or even go on exploratory runs to find new routes.

10. Make it fun! Run with a silly hat on. Run with your camera and take pictures of the things you see along the way. Run to the store and back. Chase your kids around the house. Ring your friend’s doorbell and run.

I hope you found some good ideas here to help you stick to your running resolution. Maybe I’ll see you out there running this year. Please, just don’t ring my doorbell. Happy New Year!

Thanks for reading. Check out http://www.tips4running.com for any of your running questions or needs. Check for beginner running information at http://www.tips4running.com/Beginner-Running-Tips.html if you are looking for a great way to start running. It’s a New Year. You can do it!

Take care – David Tiefenthaler

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Posted by The Running Guy - January 3, 2009 at 2:49 am

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The Mental Benefits Of Running

Much has been documented about the physical benefits of running but there are also significant psychological advantages. This article aims to examine some of the mental benefits of running.

1. Increased confidence and determination

Running can certainly improve your cognitive behavioural faculties. This refers to how your thinking affects your behaviour. Running not only enables you to complete physical challenges but improves your confidence as you achieve goals or overcome barriers. Perhaps you beat a personal best time or complete a charity run for the first time, this is not only a positive experience at the time but is likely to spill over into other areas of your life enabling you to think and act with confidence. Where previously you might have avoided a set of circumstances this improved confidence and determination may help you to resolve other problem situations that you are faced with.

2. Feel happy

Believe it or not running really can help you to feel happy. As you exercise there is a chemical reaction in your brain that releases Endorphins into your blood steam. These provide a natural high making you feel happy and positive. This is the same reaction that occurs when you laugh, have sex or eat chocolate.

3. Relieves Stress

Running is a great stress reliever helping you to focus your energies on a different problem so that you forget your current circumstances. The effect of running not only boosts your sense of happiness as you exercise but improves blood flow to all areas of your body, including your brain. Runners often report higher levels of concentration after exercise enabling your mental faculties to become sharper and making you more able to deal with problems, or find solutions, reducing stress levels.

4. Perseverance

There is a film called “The Loneliness of the long distance runner” and it encapsulates the determination and self discipline that is developed by runners who cover distances. In turn these skills help you to build perseverance which is important in life for dealing with difficult situations and circumstances where you might otherwise give up.

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Posted by The Running Guy - November 25, 2007 at 10:09 pm

Categories: Motivation, Training   Tags:

7 Reasons to Consider Making Trail Running Part of Your Routine

Earlier this summer my friend Dan and I were running in a local forest preserve. On a whim, we decided to cut through the woods on some single track trails. Next thing you know, we’re weaving through some great scenery, jumping over fallen trees and really enjoying the experience. Since that time I have turned to trail running whenever I need a change of pace. Here are 7 reasons to consider adding trail running to your weekly routine.

1. Break up the routine. Whenever the thought of going out for a run feels like a drag, I usually find myself going out for a trail run. Trail running requires more focus. The obstacles (roots, branches, rocks, etc.) require you to pay attention to the path. No time for mundane thoughts or boredom when you’re weaving through the woods.

2. Need a break from the summer sun? Go for a Trail Run. This past summer was extremely hot. The wooded trail setting provides protection from the summer heat.

3. Conversely, if you need a break from the cold winter wind, trails provide protection from the wind chill.

4. The air is cleaner and more abundant on the trails thanks to photosynthesis and protection from the exhaust of the roads.

5. Draw energy from the surrounding beauty. I always get a charge out of running through the forest, over streams and rivers, etc. I never tire of seeing deer and other wildlife on the trail.

6. Get Stronger. Trails require runners to run, weave and sometimes jump over small obstacles. It’s a great workout and provides strengthening for ankles, quads and calves.

7. The softer surface of the trail provides much better shock absorption and lessens the chance for common running injuries like shin splints, etc.

Trail Runners need to be aware of potential hazards. It’s certainly possible to turn an ankle or fall. Exercise caution, and over time you will develop a sense for this type of running. Be familiar with the local wild life. If you live near dangerous wild animals (i.e. mountain Lions, etc.) it would be best to run with a buddy. Since trails can be secluded, women should never run alone.

Greg is a running enthusiast. A former NCAA Division I Track athlete, Greg is now competing in Marathons and other races including off-road events. Greg lives in the Chicago suburbs with his wife Carole and four kids. He maintains a site dedicated to running in the Midwest: http://www.midwestrunner.com

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Posted by The Running Guy - November 10, 2007 at 8:14 am

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A Spouse Who Does Not Run

I love my wife more than anything in the world. She is the glue that keeps our family functioning and progressing forward. She is not a runner – and I am. Over the years she has talked about potentially starting a running program, but like many people (men and women) she does not beleive that she could ever be a runner. She feels she does not have the body or athletic ability to do it. Even though I tell her that was me 2 years ago, she just has not found the urge to try for an extended period of time. I wouldn’t say that this difference between us creates any issues in our relationship, only that it is something we need to understand each other on.

As I was digging around the internet for articles about this topic, I came across a very interesting quote in an artcile titled, The Moderating Effect of Spouse Support on the Relation Between Serious Leisure and Spouses’ Perceived Leisure-Family Conflict:

Glover and Schuder (1988) reported the divorce rate among New York Marathon runners was 3.5 times the national average and cited a poll taken in the Boston area that found forty percent of married runners who run more than 70 miles a week got divorced.

Well that is pretty damn scary. Although my wife and I were not anywhere near divorce when I was training for my marathon a year ago, I can say that it did put a pretty good strain on our relationship. The large number of miles that I was running had me spending 4 hours on a Sunday morning running while she had to deal with the kids, just as she did everyday while I was at work. Then there was the miles I had to put in before or after the kids went to bed during the weekday. It was a lot and our time together suffered. She is a very supportive wife, but this would test even the most loving of spouses!

What the above quote tells me is that these people put their running before their families, which is something I am unwilling to do. My family is too important to me. As such, I have decided that I am going to hold off running marathons until my kids are older and our lives are not as hectic. When this will be, I do not know but I can still cure my running bug by training for 10-Ks and half-marathons.



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Posted by The Running Guy - September 1, 2007 at 9:05 am

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Personal Goal Setting and Running Marathons

Personal goal setting is a powerful tool you can use to bring yourself success, increasing both your confidence in yourself as well as increased respect from colleagues and family members. Unfortunately, personal goal setting can be tricky and is often challenging for people who are not used to organized their goals and tracking their achievements. For this reason, I wanted to write a few words on how to successfully set your goals and improve your lives.

Everyone who is serious about personal goal setting should think of life as a marathon: if you never have been in a marathon before, running to win is not only unrealistic, but also very frustrating and disappointing. But if the first time you race you run just to finish the course, then the next time you will be more prepared and will be able to finish in a better position than your initial marathon. Eventually, if you train and race enough, you will achieve a top ten position in the marathon. This principle applies on personal goal setting too: your first goals should be easy to achieve; the next goals should be a bit harder, and so on. Eventually, when you have “raced” enough, you will be able to easily achieve your more difficult goals, and of course the rewards will be all that more satisfying.

There is no point in setting goals that are too difficult to achieve! If you are not well prepared, then you will very likely fail, and that will be an ugly low blow to your self-confidence. After all, you can’t ask a man to build a house if you don’t teach him how to lay down a brick first. Like at school, successful personal goal setting is a step-by-step learning process where you think about what you did right and about what you did wrong, and thus you get better at doing it day by day.

If you have a big, lifetime personal goal, you should “chop it” into smaller goals, easier to achieve, and set a reasonable “deadline” to achieve it. That way, you will get rewards sooner, and your self-esteem and confidence in yourself will grow little by little. Besides, if you complete small daily goals you will complete larger goals without even noticing it!

Personal goal setting is all about patience and proactiveness. Patience will be useful when walking towards your long term goals one step at a time and proactiveness will help you to take real action for completing your every day goals. Success doesn’t happen all of a sudden: it takes planning and, most of all, action and decision. If you really want to success artistically, improve your career or enhance your lifestyle, then you should start getting serious about your personal goal setting.

Copyright © Jared Winston, 2006. All Rights Reserved.

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Posted by The Running Guy - November 20, 2006 at 7:20 pm

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