I've been running for what feels like a lifetime, now.

Over decades - a very long time.

When I started, I was trying to get my life back on track, from a rut.

I figured running would give me discipline, a focus for my energies, and way to have more energy.

That was all true, incidentally; and, for me, running was the gift that kept on giving.

I even met my wife through a running club, so I have it to thank for our marriage, and family.

Running became a model for the way I do a lot of other things: one step at a time, with a runner's pacing & determination.

Over time, I've internalized these rules, which have helped me and can hopefully help you, too.

Consistency beats everything else.

I think it's good to have goals. It's good to meet them, and to beat them.

But you have to set them realistically, and if they're getting exhausting, if they're blocking more important goals - stop.

My goal is simple: to run every other day, an hour a day, for my health.

I take my phone with me and check the time. I run for 30 minutes. When the phone confirms it, I turn around.

An hour a day: it keeps the doctor away, and works for me also.

Run for your mental health, too.

Most of us live pretty desk and computer bound lives, these days; we don't get to use our bodies much, for long stretches.

Running gives you a way to do that, and a booster for your mental health.

I think that may be one of running's best benefits. It isn't something I notice in the moment.

But when months when I don't run, are compared to months when I do, I can definitely spot the difference.

I'm better able to handle stress and disappointment, on a regular running schedule.

And in a time of pandemics and solitary confinement (not counting family) - that matters more than ever.

Cover up.

If possible, try to take some measures to beat the heat, and the worst extremes of weather.

Consider a hat, and consider, also, running when it's not quite the peak of the heat.

Night is good, as is early morning. If there's a route that takes you by a water fountain, that's a good one.

The best time to run is in the morning.

I believe this whole-heartedly.

In the afternoon, the sun's high, and running is more draining.

At night, the runner's high can keep you awake, and the urge to eat afterwards can be disorienting.

The morning has none of those problems.

Plus, in the morning, the runner's high lasts the maximum amount of time, the rest of the day.

Run interesting routes.

If you can, run in captivating places.

The beach. In state parks. Up and down hills.

It's good exercise, and good entertainment.

If you live in the city - run somewhere that's safe and avoids cars, as much as possible.

There's usually a few routes that satisfy that requirement, with good scenery, too.

Enjoy them.

Finally, have fun out there!

Running's a great sport, it costs almost nothing, and it'll improve your health, greatly.

So, if you've been thinking about taking up running... do it!