With spring in full bloom and summer just around the corner, runners are dusting off their shoes and taking to the outdoor trails again. Many runners, however, might find that it’s difficult to stick to a running routine, especially if they’re just starting out.

Connecting with friends or incorporating activity trackers into your run is a great way to increase motivation, but that’s not always enough, especially when life gets busy. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to start–and stick with–a running routine. Here are a few tips to keep you running through the seasons:

Take it a mile at a time. If you aren’t up to a full mile, take it half a mile at a time. Instead of feeling as though you have to complete your full workout all at once, feel free to fit in a little bit of exercise whenever it’s convenient for you: a mile in the morning before work, a mile during your lunch break, and a mile after work can add up to close to a 5k at the end of the day!

In many cases, breaking up your workout into several smaller segments throughout the day instead of trying to cram it all in at once can have greater health benefits than doing it all at once. It will also make it easier for you to fit that run into your routine, especially if you’re just getting started or having trouble shaking off winter’s dust.

Reward yourself as you’re running. Sometimes, kicking yourself into gear is a challenge. Rewards given afterwards aren’t always enough to convince you to make the first step out the door. Fortunately, there are other rewards that are often enough incentive. For example, you might:

  • Purchase a book on tape or designate a podcast that you’re only allowed to listen to while you’re running.
  • Choose a playlist of great music that’s highly motivating.
  • Give yourself permission to listen to your “guilty pleasure” music, whether it’s an old favorite from high school that you never quite got over or a specific style of music you don’t normally listen to.

When you give yourself reasons to enjoy running while you’re doing it, you’ll be more likely to associate it with something positive. That makes you more likely to run more regularly, whether that means rolling out of bed half an hour earlier or heading to the park after work instead of collapsing in front of your TV.

Commit to running for someone else. It’s easier to be motivated when you’re helping your partner get in better shape or helping your child train for an upcoming track meet. Running with a partner also increases your own performance, since you’re dedicated to making sure that their training isn’t cut short. Ideally, you’d like to run with someone who has a similar fitness level to yours, but running with someone who is in better shape will also give you something to strive for!

Choose a cause. There are plenty of great causes that encourage you to run or walk for them. Start training for your big run by choosing a cause that matters to you. It will give more meaning to every training session and make it easier for you to meet your training goals. Check out this list of great causes to run for if you’re looking for a place to start.

Getting started with a great running routine is the perfect way to jumpstart your warmer weather fitness activities. By finding a way to commit to it and stick with it, you’re setting yourself up for success before you begin and increasing the odds that you’ll see the results you most want from your training efforts.

Sources:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/445237-one-workout-vs-several-short-workouts/

http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2016/01/just-for-fun/the-best-marathon-playlist-ever_52321#jpMZpL0cYj503ff2.97

http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1011211-10-races-can-run-cause/#slide=2