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How I’m Crafting a Consistent Running Habit

Dec 07, 2023

This week, I started running again.

I used to run competitively, but once I started lifting, my running took a backseat.

Partly because I became so obsessed with lifting and partly because I didn’t think I could do both (which I’ve since changed my mind on).

So after running maybe 3–4 times a year for the past 6 or 7 years, I decided it was time to get back into it consistently.

Why?

Because I’m always pursuing a deeper approach to health.

And while strength training is excellent for many things, aerobic capacity and heart health probably aren’t two of them.

The problem is, after competing for so long, I felt burnt out. I fell out of love with running. It felt like a chore to me.

But this week, something funny happened.

After I finished my first run, I felt great.

I had a blast.

And I’m already excited for my next session.

So, what changed this time?

1. I set a goal

It might seem simple, but setting a goal is massive if you want to make progress or build a new habit.

Without one, your training can easily become directionless.

This is reason number one why I failed in the past — I never had any overarching objective to guide my training.

I would set out to run for an arbitrary distance or amount of time.

Which made it easy to give up because I never had a deeper reason for doing it in the first place.

This time around, I’m setting out to run a sub-20-minute 5km.

Now, I have a measurable objective to build my training around.

 

2. I have a structured training plan

In the past, I would go for a run whenever I felt like it (spoiler alert: I never felt like it).

This time, I’m going in with a more organised approach.

I’ve built my run into my training program. I have one session a week set aside specifically for running.

Come every Saturday, I know I’m scheduled to go for a run.

And I already have that session planned out in advance.

This is huge for accountability.

Without this kind of structure, letting yourself off the hook is way too easy.

You might tell yourself you’re going for a run this week, but other priorities get in the way, and it falls by the wayside.

It might seem silly, but planning a session and writing it down makes a massive difference. That session is now a non-negotiable.

And it stops you from putting it off because you don’t have a program to follow.

On top of that, I’ve started small.

One run a week is all I’m doing!

That gets me closer to my goal without becoming the all-consuming training that caused me to burn out in the first place.

 

3. I’m tracking my progress

There’s no point in having a goal if you’re not tracking your progress toward it.

This was problem number 3 for me in the past.

I never had a goal, and so I never tracked progress (and, therefore, never made progress).

By having a structured plan, I can now track my progress.

I can record and track my pace and distance.

Nothing kills a habit like a lack of results.

By tracking my runs, I have an objective measure of progress.

That makes training fun and rewarding, which means I’m more likely to keep coming back. That means better progress, and the cycle repeats.

So that’s how I plan to get back into running and achieve a sub-20 minute 5 km.

I’m starting small. I’m going in with a plan. And I’m tracking my progress.

If you have a goal in mind but aren’t seeing results, it might be worth trying something similar.

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