For many new runners, the idea of having fun while running and goal setting seemed worlds apart. In the Military, we have very strict goals based on the service member’s branch of service, age and gender. Because being able to run is a critical a part of our job, running can oftentimes seem like a chore. This also happens with runners who aren’t in the military who are running because either their friends and family are runners or they want to loose weight.
What I have found to be the best way to combat this is to just not time yourself when you first start running. Just go out there with your IPod in hand and have fun. Let that adrenaline around through you, and enjoy the fresh air. Do this for a week or two. Even if you’re in the military, this is a good trick to get you back into motion.
This trick is similar to that of giving a kid who is reluctant to read a comic book. Yeah, it’s not a novel, but it helps to get the kid more accustomed to reading. Moreover, the kid is going to see all the pretty pictures and think that it is fun reading comic books.
Only after you have a set routine down, and you’ve built up some stamina, should you start timing yourself. After this initial data set is taken, I would try to decrease your run time. But by how much? Honestly, my daily goal is to just do better than I did the day before. Even if my run time is better by one second, I count it as a victory for me. 🙂
The most important thing to keep in mind is not let not reaching your goals deter you from having fun. That’s really really important. Even if you don’t reach your goals, don’t beat yourself up. It’s going to be discouraging. The most important thing is to stay motivated to keep running.