Welcome to part 7 of this 8 part Improve Your Running Series. This tip is one of the hardest but also probably the most important one. It’s the one the majority of runners struggle with. If you’ve got it cracked, I take my hat off to you. It’s the issue of consistency.
To get better at something you need to work at it, to do it over and over again for a reasonable period of time. So many times I’ve been frustrated with my lack of progress but when I’m honest I realise I haven’t been doing very much running. It’s no co-incidence that when my running has been at its best, it’s because I’ve been doing a lot of it. No surprise there! Yet, even when you know this, it can be hard to get yourself out there.
Tips for being consistent in your running
There are a few things you can do to help you keep that running routine going. Here are my tips:
- Make it part of your routine – If it’s just what you always do on a Monday after work, then you don’t have to think about it
- Lower the barriers – make it easy for yourself. If you have to travel to run, if you have to find kit, if it’s just going to take too much effort you’ll talk yourself out of it.
- Don’t feel that a couple of missed runs will ruin everything and you might as well stop. That’s life. You don’t lose fitness that quickly, just get back to it.
- Be accountable to others – whether that’s recording your runs on Strava or telling a friend what you’re doing, it all helps
- Join a running club – Set days and times and the encouragement of others will keep you going
- Sign up for an event – find something you need to work a bit for. You might aim for a faster time or a longer distance. Find something that is a big deal for you and focus on getting to the end
- Follow a training plan – you might have a plan for a race or maybe you just want to set a challenge for a number of weeks it’s up to you
- Recover well – take rest days, sleep lots, nourish your body. Don’t risk over training and injury, that’s a sure way to end your consistency.
Just do the best you can. Don’t beat yourself up about missed days, just keep going. If you can string a few weeks or even months of consistent running together you will undoubtedly make progress and improve your running.