HATE IT TO HABIT SERIES: RUNNING ROUTINE.
Hate It to Habit Series is a special topic series dedicated to transforming things we may hate into a habit.
I hated running and was curious how to turn it into something I love. Through trial, error, experience and applying psychology to optimize performance I now enjoy and get energy from running. 3 half marathons down, more to come! Here are the tips that helped shape my running routine.
1. Just do it.
Most running skills are developed implicitly and automatically (our body learns from doing). Form, running economy, and pacing develop naturally from experience with doing (not thinking about it). Just do it, don’t overthink it!
2. Build Pre Performance Momentum.
Finding motivation to run can be tricky. Developing a ritual before running can unlock motivation and positive momentum going into your run. Think of small little behaviors that can add positive feeling and energy moving into your run (e.g., wake up, favorite music, coffee, dishes, run). Use little completed behaviors to compound motivation and build momentum into your run!
3. Have an External Mindset.
What separates the top runners from the rest = an external mindset. An internal mindset is thinking about your aching legs or time until you’re done which is often the quickest way to quit. Instead, removing your mind from the ‘here and now’ and focusing externally on the finish or other positive thoughts can unlock new levels of performance.
4. Repeat Music.
We all know certain songs get us energized, and motivate us more than others. Instead of using tons of different songs with different tones, beats and paces try using your top 5 motivational songs and shuffle them on repeat. You will be amazing how this impacts your running!
5. Don’t Look at your Watch!
When we run we often look at how far or how fast they have gone, which for some it may be helpful, but for many others numbers can demotivate us. There is no “universal’ answer here but you should find out if numbers help or hurt your performance. Try removing the watch or looking at it less and see how it impacts your running. For many less watch looking can unlock performance!
Running performance is part heart, and part muscle. Adding in different forms of exercise and movement can unlock new levels of performance. Try incorporating plyometrics, strength training or yoga class to see how the added strength, power and flexibility can enhance running.
7. Remove Distractions.
We often focus on what can help us run. The other side is removing what prevents us from running. Before running we always have things that can kill our motivation (TV, emails, social media). Whatever distractions you face – remove them!
8. When to Run.
Running at the times with most motivation can help overcome “putting off running” — eg., wake up energized = run. If showing up is not the problem, changing the time can enable you to challenge your body (running on different requirements) can enable more performance.
9. Try Different Environments.
Our environments shape our runs, not just hills, but are we looking at beaches or buildings? Are we breathing fresh air or pollution? Are we running on road, dirt or sand? Are people watching me running? Pay attention to these factors and see how things motivate and improve performance and remove what doesn’t.
10. Get Competitive/Have fun.
Some people thrive on competition and want to outrun something, whether its other people, cars, bicyclists or rollerbladers. Others frame run as fun, stress relief, and after a long day of work there is no better feeling than that running high.