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Quite frankly, I hate to exercise. I always have, and I suspect that I always will.

But, during the last few months of last year, my laziness began to cause some major problems in my life. The less physical activity I did, the more exhausted I felt, day after day.

Apparently you can’t horde energy in your body–it’s more of a use it or lose it kind of a thing.

So, one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to train for Lincoln’s Half Marathon, and I have been running with regularity since the very end of December, although my recent sickness has thrown my training schedule off some.

And, to my great surprise, this whole experiment has actually gone pretty well. For the first time in my life, I’m actually making a good exercise habit and sticking with it. So, I wanted to provide a couple tips for other people to start running if you happen to be as athletically lazy as I am.

First, get the right equipment. Everyone I talked to insisted that I get proper shoes for running. If you run in your old sneakers that you use to paint and mow the lawn, you will probably end up with injuries. Go to an actual running shoes store, let them look at the unique shape of your foot, and buy the (expensive) shoes that they recommend. Unfortunately, there is no way around this up-front expense if you want to have any chance for success.

But also, this means that you need to get proper, layered clothing for running in the winter. It may seem odd, but I actually am loving running at 5:00am when it’s below freezing. I have just the right amount of clothing (complete with a face mask to warm up my breathing) so that I feel really comfortable when I go running.

In fact, I’m actually a little worried for when the weather warms up, because it seems like it will be a lot easier to add more layers when it’s cold than to try to figure out how to deal with the heat. I guess I will cross that bridge when I get there, though.

Second, introduce yourself to the wide world of podcasts. I have always wanted to become more regular in listening to particular podcasts and sermons (my favorites being White Horse Inn, Reformed Forum, John Piper, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Bryan Clark, and Joel Beeke), but it’s hard just to sit down somewhere and listen to a lengthy audio recording.

It didn’t dawn on me until I began running, though, that I would suddenly have about an hour every day with nothing to do but listenpray, and think while I ran. So every morning, I fill my smartphone up with a bunch of great recordings, plug in my earbuds, and go. I love it.

Third, it helped me to set a goal. My wife and I have already paid the registration fee for the Lincoln Half-Marathon, and that provides a lot of impetus to actually go forward with the training. I plan on continuing to run after the Half-Marathon is over (especially so that I have time to listen to my podcasts!), but having an actual goal is really helping me to build a good habit.

For those of you who have already mastered your athletic laziness, what has helped you to get in a routine of exercising?

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