I’ve tried a lot of different ways to get in shape over the years. I’ve tried walking, going to the gym, even yoga for dudes known as “broga,” but I could never stick with anything. Running, of all things, the thing I hated the most in high school gym class, is the thing I’ve stuck with the longest. Before running, I think the longest I’ve stuck with any sort of workout regimen was about three months, but now with running, I just passed two years.
But why? Why is this the thing that stuck when so many other things failed? How do I stay motivated? How have I gone from not being able to run 30 seconds to running my second half marathon at the Heart Mini? As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, the accountability of a running group is what works best for me, I need that camaraderie. But plenty of people work out solo, how do they do it? What drives them?
Personal trainers suggest goal setting. And I think that was always my biggest hurdle before running. I didn’t set goals for myself, I just started working out and expecting results. I went from couch potato to being a yoga guru overnight – it’s just not a realistic expectation, and a surefire way to start beating yourself up and quitting. Realistic, attainable goals are key in the early goings.
Another thing that works for my running, but applies to any sort of workout routine: structure. I hated structure. I hated it as a kid, which is why I never played sports or joined any clubs, but I understand its value now. I run on Wednesdays and Saturdays, no matter what, that’s when my group meets. And without that structure, when I say, “Oh, I’ll run on Monday next week,” – I never do it. I always find some excuse or something gets in the way, but with that structure, it’s just another form of accountability and keeping my mind on the task at hand.
Another thing that works for me is breaking up the monotony by doing something different every day. Even though my workout is literally just putting one foot in front of the other, I have to mix it up with different routes, different locations, sometimes hitting a track, sometimes running in a park, the sidewalks of Cincinnati, etc. I think this applies to other forms of exercise, maybe if your gym lets you use other locations, try that out?
And of course the big motivator for any workout: music. I don’t listen to music when I’m with my group because I never shut up, but when I’m by myself, I have to have music. Everyone’s music tastes are different, but here’s one of my personal playlists that might get you through your next workout:
- Tom Petty – “Runnin’ Down a Dream”
- Britney Spears – “Stronger”
- The Hives – “Walk Idiot Walk”
- Paramore – “crushcrushcrush”
- Best Coast – “Feeling Ok”
- LL Cool J – “Mama Said Knock You Out”
- Daft Punk – “One More Time”
- Carly Rae Jepsen – “Cut to the Feeling”
- Queen – “Another One Bites the Dust”
- DJ Khaled – “All I Do Is Win”
- Republica – “Ready to Go”
- Fiona Apple – “Fast as You Can”
- Disclosure featuring Sam Smith – “Latch”
- David Guetta featuring Sia – “Titanium”
- Ellie Goulding – “Burn”
- Foo Fighters – “Learn to Fly”
- Lorde – “Homemade Dynamite”
- Jimmy Eat World – “Pain”
- Zedd featuring Foxes – “Clarity”
- Demi Lovato – “Sorry Not Sorry”
Looking for your own running inspiration? Check out our #GetPiggyWithTCH series, in preparation for the Flying Pig Marathon's 20th Anniversary in May!