Fall is the perfect time of year to start or restart a running habit. The humidity is down and the temperatures are perfect for running. I became a runner 3 years ago when my daughter was diagnosed with autism. At the time, running was my only outlet. It is low or no cost, a quick workout, a great way to get some alone time, and is an awesome stress reliever. So how can you start or restart your running habit?
1. Download a Running App
There are several running apps on the market and many of them are free. Most runners will quickly tell you their favorite app and the reasons they love it. When I started running, I had no idea what I wanted in a running app. I needed a running coach, and a way to go from zero running to some running over time. The best app I found was Couch to 5K. This app is for the beginning runner and baby steps you from no running experience to a 5K in 12 weeks. Couch to 5K integrates running and walking until you can run the whole time. I loved this app because it wasn’t too much pressure to try to run 3 miles straight out of the gate.
After you complete Couch to 5K, some other apps to consider are Nike Run Club, Runtatsic, and Map My Run. I personally like Nike Run Club because it works well with my Apple Watch, and I like their Guided Runs.
Be sure to remember why you are running, FOR YOU! With that in mind, don’t be too concerned about your distance or pace. All of that will come with time. For now, you are just getting outside and doing some mommy self-care.
2. Plan Your Course and Your Playlist
When you plan your course in advance, you choose your mileage in advance, and pick a visually stimulating track. I can’t tell you how many times I went out for a run without a plan and ended up finishing my miles in the middle of nowhere. This means either I’m running extra miles or walking home. Either way it is not the best way to end a run. Try to end all runs on a high note, so you can rock the rest of your day. Ending on a high note will allow you to tackle the rest of day with a clear mind and a positive perspective. If you are running farther than expected or walking home you are not ending on your best foot.
Personally, I prefer a visually stimulating track, because it keeps my mind off the running or the million things I need to do at work or home. To keep my run interesting, I choose a course that is not an out and back and has pretty scenery. My favorite run is the National Mall or the MOMunmental Run. It is nice and flat, steps from my office, and great for people watching. Although I live in the Nation’s Capital I rarely take in the historic sights, the MOMumental Run gives me a chance to enjoy one of the most beautiful cities in the world. When was the last time you went to the Lincoln Memorial or Washington Monument? BONUS: See MOMunmental Running Course below. You can modify it to any distance by shortening or lengthening your loop. I use mapmyrun.com to plan my runs before I hit the pavement.
Now that you know where you’re going, plan your playlist. I like to listen to hardcore heavy metal during my runs. My husband calls it my angry running music. Whatever you choose to listen to during your workouts, try to ensure the songs are high tempo to keep you lifted and engaged. Most of all, make sure your playlist is longer than you think is needed. This is a safety measure in case your pace is a bit slower (which is OK).
3. Engage Your Social Media Community
The best way to get your own personal cheerleading squad is to post your runs on social media. I don’t generally post my run results, but I do try to take a selfie along the way and post that I have completed a run. This is especially fun if you are running in a historic place like Washington, D.C. Another added bonus to posting about your runs on social media are the awesome hashtags you can use. A few of my favorites are: #motherrunner, #momsrunningaway, #momsthatrun, #momsrunthistown, and #MOMunmentalrunning.
Put one foot in front of the other, and before you know it you will be a runner.