Running For 12 Years and Counting

Felicia Atkinson

Here's how.
A person running.jack atkinson/Unsplash

Around 12 years ago, I started running. I was a distance runner from the start and never dabbled in the sprinting world. The closest I got to sprinting was doing a few strides at the end of my long run.

I started running competititely when I was 12, and continued to compete in races until I was 18. Once I went to college, I retired from being a competitive runner, but it’s still a large part of my life.

I’d be lost without running, and although it can be tough to stay consistent with running at times, I’ve managed to maintain my passion for it and stick with it. Here are three hacks that have helped me stay in running shape.

Setting a schedule

One of the things I’ve realized in my post-grad life is how much of an impact structure can have on you. As someone whose always had a strict schedule with not only my academics but with sports, it’s something that I truly need.

This is why creating a workout schedule for yourself is key in sticking with running and staying consistent with it. It’s especially important if you work a full-time job and don’t have a lot of free time.

I carve out specific times each day that I’m going to run during my busy work week so that I have a plan and can easily execute it. Of course plans can change and creating a schedule for yourself doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll stick with it, however, it’s the first step in creating that consistency with working out.

If you’re self-employed, you may have more free time and more flexibility, but I’ve found that it’s nice to get your run or workout in at similar times each day. It helps with routine and I’m someone who craves that routine and structure.

Listening to how you feel

When you’re invovled in athletics, you don’t always get to choose your workouts or how hard or easy your workout is. In fact, most of the time you don’t get to choose at all. Even if you’re feeling sore, tired, or just not up for it on a particular day, you still have to give 100% effort and complete the workout.

I’ve always had the push through the pain mentality as a competitive athlete for years, but now I’ve slowly moved away from that. For me, it’s best to listen to how I’m feeling on a particular day. If I’m not feeling like running a lot of miles, then I’ll only run a few. And on days I’m pretty tired from work, I’ll keep it short and easy.

If you run yourself into the ground, it won’t be much fun. The goal is to find joy with running, and when it doesn’t become fun anymore, it’s likely something you won’t want to continue doing.

Finding workout buddies

One of the things I miss about athletics is the team camaraderie and working out with a large group of people. When you’re doing a hard, intense workout, having a friend or two doing the workout with you can motivate you both and make it easier to get through it.

When I use to workout with other people, we would jam some music and get lost in the workout itself. Before we knew it, the time was up and our workout was complete.

Doing something as simple as finding a friend or two to go on a run with you can help pass the time. I like to listen to music when I run from time to time, but having a conversation with others during a run is not only a perfect opportunity to socialize, but it makes running more enjoyable.

Running is an exercise that I’ve been doing for years, and it’s something that I plan on continuing doing for the rest of my life. Running is calming, peaceful, and a great way to stay active.

Setting a schedule, listening to how you feel, and finding a workout buddy are easy ways to help motivate you and help you stay consistent with running. Take it one day at a time and find a running groove. Once you start running, it’s hard to stop.

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I'm an avid runner and a passionate vegan. I enjoy writing about food, work, productivity, health, fitness, and more!

Raleigh, NC

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