This is Part 2 of 2 in Howie’s blog posts about how to become a competitive runner. Take it away, Howie!
So how do you light your inner fire to join the running craze? After all, the idea does seem overwhelming if the last time you ran was in gym class. Here is an attempt to show some traits that have worked for me to keep racing:
Run listening to music. As long as it’s upbeat, you won’t get bored jamming to your favorite songs on the side of the road. (Any Bruce Springsteen fans out there?)
Change the scenery. Unless you’re a creature of habit with a set routine every day, there’s a good chance you’ll get bored running the same loop every day. Explore the surrounding roads of your town or drive to a local park with a running trail.
Make a training plan. Your first few runs should always be easy. Yes, racing fast requires feeling pain in tough workouts, but developing a set guideline over several weeks will help incorporate running into your schedule.
Set realistic goals daily. Like during yoga, set a personal intention for each time you decide to run. Runners often set goals to break, which are called a personal record time (PR). A good start for this is to finish your training runs at a goal pace (3 miles at 8:30 pace per mile, etc.)
Pay attention to detail. This is my college coach’s favorite phrase. Every time you run hard, make sure to run easy the following day. Running fitness is analogous to weight training – workout, rest to rebuild, and repeat.
Embrace the Pain. Like many athletes, competitive runners view feeling sore or exhausted as badges of achievement… because they are! Be proud of the effort you’ve completed.
Find a partner. Running with friends is significantly easier than running alone. If you all have the same running goals, the trials of miles will not only make you train harder, but also form a stronger bond with each other.
Buy running gear! If you look fit, you’ll feel fit.
I honestly believe if you follow some of these guidelines, or develop a few of your own, you may surprise yourself by getting into the best shape of your life.
Did I miss anything? Do you agree or disagree? The Aurorae family would love to hear what keeps you motivated in any form of competition. My first post-collegiate race will be the Stratton Faxon Half Marathon, a popular summer road race in Fairfield, Connecticut – with the goal of a top 15 finish. Stay tuned for more updates!