Our spring session of the SHOES-n-FEET Be You 5K (Couch to 5K) Training Program starts tonight. Ten brave new runners will embark on a twelve-week journey to complete their first 5K run. This particular group is training for the Seahawks 5K. I love working with beginners. Their success just seems to mean more to them, and I can see them make major life changes in short amounts of time. It is really gratifying work for me. Getting started is difficult though. A coach I worked with once told me it takes three weeks to set a healthy habit and three days to destroy a healthy habit. Here’s four tips that I give to beginning runners or people trying to start a new fitness routine.
1. Set realistic goals and start slowly – I often see new runners or people with new fitness programs simply setting their initial goals too high and getting frustrated when they do not achieve them. Too far, too fast and too soon are sure ways to not have success with a new fitness program. Instead, consider keeping in mind the S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measureable, Assignable, Realistic, Time-related) goal setting method. Making your goals as attainable as possible will help you feel better by accomplishing many small goals, rather than struggling to reach a larger goal. Not that you cannot have grand plans for your castle in the sky! Just make sure you build in the necessary steps to help you reach your castle.
2. Use the buddy system – Working out with friends makes you accountable to show up to the gym or for your workout. It is a positive form peer pressure and is good for you. Plus, chatting with a friend while you exercise will make a time go by faster. Joining something like a local “couch to 5k” training group, like our Be You 5K Training Program, works really well. Those programs give you instant buddies that can help you along when the going gets tough.
3. Work with local experts – Speaking of local resources, make sure to tap into local experts. Yes, you can ask Google, Bing, Siri, Alexa, Watson or any other computer program to dial up a beginner’s guide for you. But, those sources are just “robots” and cannot judge whether a training program is the right one for you, they cannot be helpful or sympathetic when things do not go as planned, nor can they give you a high-five or a hug when you compete your goals.
4. Persistence, persistence, persistence – I cannot say it enough. It takes persistence to start a new routine. As I mentioned above, it can take three weeks or more to cement your new healthy habit into your life. Buy new workout clothes or shoes, listen to music, read motivational quotes, use a tool like Anxiety Box, hire a coach, join a team. Do whatever it takes to get you through those first few weeks.