I’ve been an on-again off-again runner since I joined the track team in 7th grade. My biggest challenge is not focusing so much on my shortcomings, like missing runs when things get busy, that I loose my motivation. I’m back at it after nearly a year away from running, and it’s been a challenge. Usually I would set start running, set a goal, miss a couple runs, back out of the goal, and enter the downward spiral of laziness.
This time I started slow and gave myself the freedom to stop running if I wasn’t feeling it after 2 miles. (Most of my runs are between 3-4 miles, with a long run of 5-6 miles). And, like always, life got busy and I got sick and before I knew it I hadn’t run in 2 weeks. And I was less than 2 weeks from the 5k I registered for. But I ran a few short runs and showed up for the 5k, and even managed to finish it.
Completing a race was a HUGE motivation. Much more so than having something to work towards. That first finish really gave me a huge boost in confidence, which has helped me to stay more motivated as winter hits with shorter days and cold, snowy weather.
I think to start out, you should try to find a convenient way to fit it into your schedule. Starting out as a mroning runner would never work for me, since I am NOT a morning person. So I made myself run in the evenings immediately after work. Once you find a way to fit it into your schedule, you need the basic gear – sweat wicking clothing and supportive sneakers. I reccomend going to a running store (the smaller shops, like Fleet Feet are much better than Dicks because they know more) and get fitted for a type of shoe. It’s really important to avoid injury. Most places can help you find a good shoe that fits your budget.
Then start slow. I don’t usually follow the 10% increase in time/distance each week, but I do listen to my body and make sure to rest when I am sore. Setting a goal of a shorter race is good motivation, especially if you have a SO or a friend who will join in. Or even a virtual friend.
There are a ton of training programs, races, running blogs, etc… out there that you can go to for information. The important thing is to make small, realistic goals to help you reach the bigger goals, and to remember that you won’t be ready to run a marathon overnight, but that almost anyone is capable if they put their mind to it. Oh, and of course, try to have fun.