Stick with running - 5 tips and tricks

Photo by  Ev  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ev on Unsplash

The Advent 2017 #CatholicWomenRun challenge has begun! Signed up and feeling nervous that you won't stick with running?

Cast those worries and anxieties aside, girl! Here are my best tips and tricks to help you stick with the challenge this Advent.

Have faith

My best friend and co-creator of Catholic Women Run, Charlotte, said what all of us have admitted to at one point in our faith: “For a long time I’ve been trying to make my prayer life and exercise habits more consistent.”

That got me thinking. In no way would I say that I’m consistent in my prayer life. Some weeks I have a good streak of morning prayer. Some weeks I feel off and eventually realize it’s because I’ve let work or friendships or other projects take precedent over God.

Here’s the truth – I can say the same thing about running. I’ve only run twice since I finished a 200-mile relay race a month ago. I know I need to lace up my shoes if I want to feel better. But, like my prayer life, I’m letting other things take over.

But there’s always time to get back to it. Without judgement. Without beating myself up about missing a few days or weeks. I have faith that God is merciful when I miss my prayers. I need to be just as merciful to myself when I miss my runs. Be joyful in that fact that it’s never too late to stick with running again if you slip up.

Make it a routine

I think Jesus knew we needed routine to move us to holiness. Enter: shared participation in his death and resurrection every Sunday. Of course, we can receive the Eucharist even more than that. But at the very least, the whole Catholic community comes together on the same day every week.

Running is no different. Whenever I can, I run on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. It is my routine, which means I utilize less mental capacity when deciding on my workout on those days.

If you need to change the day of some of the runs in your training plan, that’s fine! But it’s harder to make running a routine if you’re changing those training runs every week. Figure out which days of the week are the best for you. Then stick with running on those days consistently.

Put it on the calendar

This is closely related to the tip above. But this gets at another layer to creating a running routine – time of day. Will you run in the morning? At night? On your lunch break? Write your run down into your paper calendar or input it digitally on Google or Outlook. BONUS: If other people in your family are looking at the calendar, ask them to hold you accountable to doing it! (For more tips on fitting runs in with a family, check out Charlotte's blog post on the topic.)

Guess what? This tip relates to Sunday Mass again! My parish offers quite a few Mass times. There's Saturday at 6, and Sunday at 9, 11:30, 5:30, and 8. I've gone to all of these options at least once. Now I mostly go to the 11:30 service. It might take you a few times to figure out what time works best for running. But eventually you might be able to stick with running at the same time each day.

The Mass time doesn't matter - I just know that Sunday = participating in heaven on earth! And by the end of this challenge, your calendar will be less critical. Your body and mind will know exactly what day it needs to be out running!

Sign up for a race

My confession in the first tip makes this one pretty important. Maybe it’s my Type A personality, but I need a goal to strive after in order to run consistently. That’s not the case with some runners. Some start it, love it, and go run 7 miles every day just for fun. Since I haven’t run since my last race a month ago…that’s obviously not me.

If you need that extra motivation to stick with running, sign up for a race! The training plan for this challenge has a race day of February 24th. Here are some of races for five different regions on that weekend (which I found from my favorite race directory website).

5k: GSH Snowstorm Classic in Springfield, MA
Half: Colchester Half Marathon in Colchester, CT

5k: Chocolate Run in Statesboro, GA
Half: Run the Reagan Half in Snelville, GA

5k: Run and Run S’more in St. Louis, MO
Half: Winter Trail Frosty Half in Indianapolis, IN

5k: Super Hero Run in Glendale, AZ
Half: Phoenix Marathon in Mesa, AZ

5k: City Heights Runners 5k in San Diego, CA
Half: Red Rock Canyon Marathon in Las Vegas, NV

If you don't want to travel, you can also search "[your race distance]" + "[your city]" and find some races closer to home. And of course, you can sign up for a race that’s later. Just make sure you keep running to stay prepared!

Find friends

It's so important to have someone as your accountability partner. This is why community is such an important part of our faith, after all! It makes sense that success depends on other people when it comes to your physical health, too.

Tag a girlfriend who will support and motivate you to stick with running, as well as pray for you. Use the hashtag #CatholicWomenRun and #CatholicMomsRun on Facebook and Instagram! How amazing will it be when you're ALL feeling the best, strongest, and most connected to God. Together!

-Johnna D.

RunningJohnna Wilford