How to Cultivate Good Running Habits

Habits aren’t easily formed but once implemented, oddly enough, they become hard to break. Most runners would therefore agree that implementing good habits into your running routine is beneficial for upping your game. In order to formulate a worthwhile habit you might want to consider the following:

  • Consistency matters

To become a better runner both mentally and physically consistency matters in order to achieve whatever running goals you have set before you. If you find that even with all the best intentions you often fall short of sticking to the game plan, consider holding yourself accountable to someone like a coach or running mentor to help keep you on track.

  • Prioritize strength training

Strength training might seem like a totally unrelated activity for newbies to running, but most experienced runners can attest to the fact that strength training is what will set you apart from your competitors.

Aim to incorporate at least three sessions of moderate strength training a week into your exercise plan to give your muscles the advantage it needs to be able to adapt to more strenuous endurance training and it will give your muscles the ability to bounce back from injuries much quicker. Strength training also has a direct impact on your running form so if you are working towards perfecting your form, this is the way to do it.

  • Review and reflect

All runners have bad days but care should be taken not to dwell on the what-ifs. Dwelling on negative running experiences can hinder your progress. Instead, choose to concentrate on the lessons you have learned and incorporate these lessons into your next run. Keep a log of your runs as a reminder of where your weak spots are and where you excel. 

  • The more the merrier

Running in a group or with a running buddy can be a source of encouragement when you need it most. As social beings, we enjoy the company of like-minded individuals to help push ourselves beyond our limits. A running partner could be just the person to help you edge across the practice finish line in preparation for your next race. 

  • Plan ahead

Plan ahead for the remainder of the year where you can. Having a plan in place is a strategic move to ensure that you focus all your energy on the races you want to succeed at most so that you are not distracted by other running activities that may seem like a good idea at the time but can derail your training objectives completely.

So, while habits can be annoying at first sticking with them and sticking it out is a wise thing to do. Being a dedicated runner is no easy task; it requires dedication and a proportionate amount of self-discipline. Give yourself the edge you need through the implementation of good habits to give yourself the best possible advantage of succeeding no matter what your running goals may be. 

 ATHLETE and MENTOR

The life of an athlete who is on the up, is one of the most stimulating lives to lead.

When an individual runs a first 10km race and finishes it, it is a big deal. It is also, more often than not, the launch pad to a life IN running, but not necessarily OF running.

One of three courses can be followed when a runner crests the peak in their careers and the long downhill beckons. First, they may soldier on regardless and chase age group times and positions or secondly, they could simply accept the reality of slowing down and run more socially with friends, old and new.

The third option is open only to a certain breed of individual who has what it takes to coach or mentor athletes.

The past 15 months have been phenomenal in this regard and the results pre and post the re-launch of BOaST ought to have been stimulating to all that have followed the progress of runners who have been influenced by the team, either on a personalised programme or through a club structure.

No matter how talented, fast or strong an athlete is, achieving optimal running success is unlikely when going solo.

The training is paramount, but so too is race identification, goal setting and belief.

Runners who buy into the role of a proven and successful coach or mentor will inevitably achieve personal bests.

The reasons for that include trust, motivation, instilling belief and working through all aspects of preparation together and openly.

There are of course no quick fixes and it will often take a relationship three or four years to reach its full potential, particularly if athlete and mentor come from different belief systems in respect of training, nutrition, footwear and racing regimens.

A good sense of humour certainly helps when athletes  go a little wayward, as inevitably they sometimes will. Rather than be unsettled by such instances they offer a great opportunity to further build trust between each other as the athlete sheepishly admits that the mentor was (in most instances) right.

So it is that an athlete and a coach or mentor build a “story” that can be used by both to further their own paths and experiences within the sport. Growth is imperative as is change.

On the change front, nothing is more apt an example than that of nutrition and eating habits as espoused by folk such as Tim Noakes, Mark Sissons, Gary Taubs, David Perlmutter and many others.

On the footwear front the shoe companies detest the “barefoot” minimalistic protagonists, because they will simple sell less shoes, while in the nutritional field, many a multi-national would go out of business as the world became healthier.

Debate, and vigorous debate at that, should be the fuel that drives and seeks success. When we think we know it all, then we are indeed over the crest.

There is, at the end of the proverbial day, nothing more satisfying than being a part of the development of a runner and imparting life experiences so that they might achieve their goals.