Don't find the time to run -- make the time
When it comes to scheduling your runs, don't just assume that you'll find the time lying there behind the couch with a couple MetroCards and spare change. It's not going to happen, though you may find time to clean your room, catch up on emails, call your mom, ANYTHING to avoid your run.
Jessie Zapo, founder and coach of Girls Run NYC, a women's running collective in New York City, and co-founder of members-only running group the Black Roses, recommends making a plan to wake up earlier than usual to get your run in before breakfast to avoid losing motivation during the day.
"You will feel like you already won the day before it's even started," she says. "You can even end your run at a local coffee or juice spot as a motivator." If you're not so much of a morning person, you can schedule it into a calendar app, as though you have a meeting. That way, you have less of an excuse to skip it, since you were planning on being occupied for that time.
Join a beginner-friendly running group, or get a friend on board with you
The combination of Netflix, your couch, and a long day of work will tempt you to skip your workout and go directly home to veg. Kunz recommends joining a beginner-friendly running group. By combining your will to run with a social activity you can look forward to, you'll be much more motivated to show up to your workout.
"Even if you run alone most of the time, having regularly scheduled group runs will keep you accountable and motivated -- plus, it will add some fun to your routine!" she adds.
And while a running group full of newbies will be helpful once or twice a week, for consistent motivation, Zapo suggests finding a running buddy. This is also a good choice for people who dislike group settings.
"Choose someone who ideally lives or works near you, and someone who will hold you accountable," Zapo says. Accountability is huge, especially if you're scheduling runs as though they're meetings. It's a lot harder to ditch if someone else is planning on showing up.
Set up weekly goals and track your progress
If the success of Fitbit and its relatives is any indicator, people LOVE tracking themselves. You don't need a $100 bracelet to tell you how you're doing, or a $400 GPS watch to log your weekly mileage; Kunz recommends setting weekly goals to keep you on track. At first, it might just be setting aside time to run Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday your first week, and "checking off" each run as you complete it.
Zapo suggests using a calendar to track your daily workouts. "It helps to see [your progress] somewhere visible each day," Zapo says. She also recommends using a social fitness-tracking app, like Strava, to record and track runs, or purchasing a running watch if you are looking to make an investment.
Ask someone who's actually done it
This is always the most underrated aspect of starting a new habit. Why not find someone who's been successful at what you're trying to do? "Don't be afraid to ask questions," Lemmer advises. "Runners love to talk about running, and you would be surprised how many runners there are out there!"
Or maybe you wouldn't, but the point is that you should seek out as many opinions as you can. Lemmer says that asking around for advice, encouragement, and motivation from seasoned runners will likely net you different perspectives on running, giving you a better chance to discover a trick that works for you.
Just do the damn thing
Like most things related to health and fitness, there really is no substitute for action. The best advice Zapo has for newbie runners: run. "Start small. Start today."