So, you’ve decided that you and your dog need to start a running program to get fit, become more active and to enjoy the fresh air. Great, maybe you’ve joined a Pooch to 5k training group, or you might be doing it on your own. Unfortunately this morning it’s raining, horrible weather for running. Or maybe you’re still stiff from the previous run. You also had to work late the night before and just want to sleep in this morning. Suddenly all that running doesn’t seem like such a good idea anymore.
It can be hard keeping your motivation when it really challenges you, or when life gets in the way. Fortunately there are a few things you can do to keep motivated.
The Reward Yourself Jar
Lots of people have a jar where if they do something bad they put money in it. This is a similar idea, but you put money in a jar when you’ve done something good.
When you decide to start running with your dog get a jar and for every kilometre you run, put money into the jar. If you have lots of money, make it 5 or 10 dollars for every 20 minutes you run, jog or walk, if you’re broke make it a dollar.
So in week one of the Pooch to 5K program, if you do it properly you’ll have $3, $15 or $30 in the jar. On week 6, you should be putting in $3.50, $20 or $35.
Week 12, you’ll put in, $7, $35, or $65.
If you want you could change this from minutes to kilometres, and change 20 minutes to 10 minutes.
Once the jar is full, you can take all of the money and use it to do something fun, buy yourself something nice. Go out to a nice restaurant, buy a nice outfit that fits your new, slimmer body, take your dog out for a good grooming, it’s your fun money use it as you see fit.
Now if you don’t go out for a run, for ANY reason, you have to take money out of the jar. You were suppose to run 5K down a back trail this morning but it was raining, well you take out $5, $25 or $50 you would have put in the jar. It gets used for bills again.
Focus On The Short Distance
One thing that makes people lose motivation for running with their dog is the thought of running or walking for that long. With the 5K challenge you’ll be running a fairly long way, lots of people don’t walk that far anymore.
So don’t focus on the ending, focus on the next few meters. When you get started, pick some spot you can see, about 100 meters is a good distance, it could be a tree, a road, a house, anything, and run or walk to it. Once you reach it, look for something else about 100m away, and head to it. Keep doing this for the entire run.
By giving yourself minor goals you are giving yourself little victories that make you will give you energy and motivation to keep going. And since you can see the goal it doesn’t seem very far away. 5Km, is a long way away, you can’t see the end and it will take a long time to get there, so don’t think of the ending, just think of the next sign, the next tree, the next corner. Once you hit it, smile, pat yourself on the back and look for the next one.
Get a Motivator
If you have a spouse, children, boy or girl friend or a good friend, have them encourage you. When you start training, get them to ask you how the running is going, and to congratulate you when you do it.
If it’s your spouse or partner doing this, having them comment on your new healthier body, even if there is little change, can really motivate you to keep going. With children or a friend motivating you, a smile and a friendly word will probably have to suffice, but even that can keep you going when your legs hurt.
Also look to your dog for motivation, watch how much more active your dog is with the running. Does your pet seem happier and better behaved, that should be motivation enough.
Now that you want to make you and your dog healthier by running, plan on sticking to it. Use the methods I’ve listed above, think of some of your own, and use all of them. And remember, if you slip one day its not the end of the world, don’t feel bad about it, just make extra sure to do it right the next day.
Now go have a good run.
Dan Clarke is a motivational coach, currently living in China, and has experienced the joys and pains of running early in the morning trying to get fit. To get more motivational advice you can go to his blog Let’s Get Happy. (http://www.lets-get-happy.com)