I love technology. I am a fan of using social media to connect with friends and like-minded fitness folks. I love my phone and my tablet. Not too long ago running meant lacing up my shoes and heading out the door. But now I must have my phone and my Road ID bracelet, and my heart rate monitor, my watch, my earbuds, etc. etc. But technology is also a useful tool for staying motivated and on track with your goals. And anyone who’s made a New Year’s resolution or tried to make a change knows the importance of keeping the motivation going.
Some people have an inner drive to be the best, or just feel the need to get out and run everyday. They’re internally motivated. That’s not me. I need accountability. That can mean paying money for a big, scary race that I haven’t done before, or having a buddy I check in with regularly, or even having a coach. Without a goal or someone to check in with, I will likely be found on my couch rather than the trail. I’m definitely externally motivated.
If you’re like me, here are a few ideas I’ve tried (and still use) with some success:
Facebook. I belong to a bunch of groups: Run JunkEes, Hogwarts Running Club (Proud Hufflepuff. Go Badgers!), Tri-Fecta: Family, Life, & Tri, Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans and Run with the Sisterhood. I also started a private group with co-workers. Any time I feel my motivation lag, or I just don’t want to get dressed and get out the door, I just have to look to one of these groups for some fantastic inspiration. Each of these groups has runners and walkers of every ability so if you’re a newbie and want to join a group I’m sure you will fit right in. I also love the support and positive attitudes that (most) people have. And it feels good to provide support when someone asks for help with their own lagging motivation.
Apps: Charity Miles (free) is a great one. I use this for Hogwarts Running Club as we earn points for our House with each mile we run, walk or cycle. They have about 37 different charities, so pick something close to your heart and get moving. Your miles get converted into dollars by company sponsors, so it’s a win-win. The only downside is that the app really doesn’t work well inside on a treadmill. But hey, it’s spring so go outside!
Map My Run or My Fitness Pal (free). These 2 apps connect with each other if you’re looking for a food diary and fitness tracker. I know people use lots of other running apps such as: Strava, Run Keeper, Rock My Run, Nike +, etc. So you can definitely find one to match your needs.
Road ID (free). This is a must for anyone who goes out alone. It gives you a home screen with an emergency contact, sends a text to your contact person (people) and lets them know where you are in real time. And if you stop moving it sends an alarm out from your phone. So if you stand around chatting with someone, or spend too much time fiddling with your shoes, Road ID will blast an alarm from your phone and will text your emergency contact. Trust me, this works incredibly well. I activated that system once and got a frantic call from my husband wondering what had happened to me. Luckily I was just taking a break and forgot to pause it.
My Yoga Studio ($5.00). Yes I am one of those people who actually bought a yoga app, but I use it every week. It has a variety of classes. I especially like to use a 15 minute stretch video after a run. YouTube is another great resource for yoga and strength videos. Of course nothing beats going to an actual class, but this is great when I’m home and want to get some stretching and movement into my day.
Skimble (free but unlocks more workouts when you pay). This is a strength workout app and I use it when I’m bored or need to change things up a bit. I like to do balance exercises or a quick strength workout while Bob cooks dinner. The workouts tend to be 15-20 minutes each. No special equipment required. Most use hand weights and/or body weight. Easy breezy.
Fitness Trackers ($100.-$200. and up). Lots of my co-worker friends got Fit Bits for Christmas and using it really brought them together for some healthy competition. I use something else. I have a Garmin Vivoactive (with a heart rate monitor), which is a big step up from my old Polar heart rate watch and monitor. The Vivoactive tracks my steps, my sleep, my runs, walks, cycling, swimming. It also tracks golf, but I don’t golf so I have no experience with how well that works. I wear it all the time and sync it to the Garmin Connect app for details about my various activities. It also automatically posts to My Fitness Pal and Map My Run saving me from that extra step. I can’t really say anything negative about it. This watch does everything but actually run for me. I mean, it even pushes me out the door. If you are committing to walking, running, triathlons or other activities, and you have some extra cash, then consider getting one of these fitness trackers. Connect with your friends and cheer each other on. You can still connect with your non-Fit Bit pals using Map My Run or some other running app.
Coaches. (Free – $the sky’s the limit). Coaches are a great resource and good ones can be found online. The coach I found to help me with my sprint triathlon last summer was $35.00 for 3 months. And she was awesome. The. Best. Deal. She provided personalized coaching plans with a training app and a private Facebook group. I was in the best shape of my life when I crossed that finish line, thanks in large part to Coach Kim. I’ve tried other online coaches and haven’t been as satisfied; there is some trial and error. What works for one may not work for another. I like a coach that checks in and helps me through the rough patches. Coach Kim (PowerofRun.com) totally helped me through a mini self confidence crisis with my swimming. The plan was personalized and that’s what you want when you’re paying real money.
Obviously this is not a comprehensive list, but this is a sample of what I’ve found that works for me. The important things for me are being safe when I’m out running, keeping my motivation as consistent as possible and switching things up when I’m bored.
What’s up next:
- Blindfold Challenge training
- Working on my nutrition
- 15K training