When I first started running there were a lot of factors to consider before heading out the door. Is it raining? How am I feeling? Does my schedule allow time? Do I have enough energy? Is anybody else available to join? Which route should I run? How many miles should I run? Should I hold off until I can buy new shoes?
These types of questions were common. I found myself answering these questions almost every day. And any one of these questions could quickly turn into an excuse not to run. It is raining. It is too hot. I am not motivated enough. I am too tired. I am too busy. On and on and on. The excuses not to run seem endless.
The root problem here was simple. I was leaving it up to my future motivation to determine if I was going to run. And it turns out motivation is fairly unreliable. This daily decision-making process was way more stressful than it needed to be. I needed to change my approach.
For me, living with less is not limited to fewer possessions. It is less of anything not adding value in my life. This includes draining decisions like “should I run today?” I prefer less decision making. So, I established a simple rule for myself:
I am going to run at least three miles every other day.
The “at least three miles” part was based on a bit of research into recommended cardio exercise for a person like me. The “every other day” part was to eliminate future decision making. It worked. Every day is either a running day or it is not. My motivation no longer matters.
I no longer have to wait until the conditions are perfect to go for a run. I make the conditions work because this day is a running day. The question “Will I run today?” has turned into “When can I fit my run in today?”
Establishing a simple schedule to follow can go a long way for a running habit. Buying new shoes is fun. Signing up for a race is motivating. Getting a running partner. Tracking runs. It all helps. However — establishing a simple schedule, even arbitrary, is a much more productive way to stick with running.