Running as Habit: Why You Should Sign Up for Your First Race

Photo credit: Chester Student’s Union

You may gaze out your window or drive to the shops and see lots of people in their high-vis jackets running up the street closely followed by another several people. Running as a habit is excellent. It allows you to meet new people, join new clubs and gives you plenty of room for self-improvement. Running is such a wonderful habit to take on because you can do it anywhere and everywhere and start with virtually no experience. Whether you have a treadmill in your garage or you rely on the great outdoors you can run absolutely anywhere – that’s the beauty of it. No 2 days running have to be the same. 

How can you develop a habit for running regularly?

So, developing a habit for running regularly doesn’t have to be hard and certainly doesn’t warrant an Olympian’s mind-set! There’s no need to over complicate things and you can easily develop a habit for it by following the 5 easy steps below:

  • Devise your own plan – Take control and decide you want to do this. A successful habit is made up of a series of cues. Set a time that’s convenient to run each day, a place where you want to/can run. Next listen to your favourite music when you run for motivation.
  • Reward yourself – Positive reinforcement for your run will go a long way. Reward yourself with a delicious protein smoothie for a sweet fix and to fuel those muscles. Or why not run a hot bath or enjoy some foam rolling?
  • Time schedule diary – Get a wall calendar or workout log and write down the days/times when you plan to run and stick to it. Committing like this will likely keep you in line.
  • Throw yourself into the running community Look into local running clubs or have a look at local forums and chat to like-minded people, you can share tips, tricks and stories.
  • Progress logs – Keep a log of your progress, be it via an app or a written journal so you can track personal bests, times and the type of workouts and training you are completing.

Why signing up for race is great motivation

Firstly before you tackle racing against others, your first, regular races should be the ones against yourself. Keep track of your personal bests and BEAT THEM.

Having a goal when it comes to fitness is usually a fool-proof way to ensure you stay on track. By setting a goal, in this case in the form of a race automatically holds you accountable for your training and actions. If you have entered a race then you have to train for it to be the very best version of yourself you can be or you risk disappointing yourself.

Having the goal of a race will keep you pushing forward and keep your motivation soaring.

Whether you are a new mum wanting to lose the baby weight, on a weight loss journey or want to get your teeth into a new hobby where you can constantly achieve and make progress then signing up for a race is an excellent guarantee that you will stay on track with your training. A race is a deadline that can’t be changed or altered. If you don’t commit to your training you won’t achieve the goal you set yourself which can end up being a blow financially and psychologically, to your ego. If you are a little anxious then why not sign up with a friend.

Your running plan to train for a race

Following a carefully devised plan will keep your body safe, your muscles happy and your runs highly effective. Before you complete any running session ensure you complete a good stretching session to warm up your muscles and reduce the risk of injury or pulling a muscle.

The warm up component

  1. Walk gently for three to five minutes.
  2. Add strides or gentle lunges for around 100 metres.
  3. Last perform some dynamic stretches as it’s been proven these can help you perform better. Try to incorporate a hip flexor stretch, leg extensor stretch, a hamstring stretch and a quad stretch to hit all areas of your leg muscles.

Plyometrics have been included in your workout plan as these are something many runners neglect but they can help hugely with speed and power. Plyometrics are a form of exercise that involves rapid and repeated stretching and contracting of the muscles, designed to increase strength. Your Plyometrics session should be performed in a circuit so perform all 5 exercises then have 2 minutes rest. Perform the circuits until you have completed 20 minutes or 30 minutes depending upon what week you are on in your plan.

 A 1 month running plan:

Bottom line:

Running is such a beneficial hobby to have. It will reward you with elevated levels of fitness, increased cardio vascular health, loads more endorphins and a means to taking part in so many of the amazing running themed events across the country. You are spoilt for choice when it comes to racing, from colour runs, to marathons, fun runs and obstacle course challenges there really is something for everyone. Set your goals and work for them.

Have you ever run a race? What’s the best advice you would give to a fresher? Please enter your comments below.

Personal trainer and professional fitness writer, Betsy has dedicated her life to fitness. Having a career in competitive swimming for ten years she then found her love of weight training and bodybuilding in the gym environments and helps people transform their bodies day by day.
I have to edit them again cos I only have the old version of the bios so bear with me.

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