Much has been written about the “rules” of running. Rules follow the perspective of “always do this” and “never do that”. I have a hard time following rules, but I do practice good running “habits”. The dictionary defines “habit” as “a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance “.
You can improve your running performance by practicing certain habits. These habits can include any number of running related activities. Doing something onetime does not have an effect, but repeating a positive activity several times it will become a habit and then will yield results. Develop enough habits and your running will show significant improvement (in other words, it gets easier and you get faster!)
You need to repeat an activity several times over a three week period before it becomes a habit. Don’t try to adapt several activities at one time. Keep it simple, pick one activity, work on it for a week, then add another one. Repeat the activity the e a habit, then pick one or two more items to work on. Over time these things become habit and you become a faster runner!
One of the most important habits you can develop is to plan and track your activity. Here are some pointers:
- Each week make a basic plan ahead of time and write it down. Start with a weekly goal for how many miles you are going to run. Decide how many days you are going to run. Plan how far and how hard you want to run each day (as well as which days are rest days). I usually plan my running around family activities, busier days are my rest days or easy days and weekends tend to be my longer days because I have more time.
- Each day plan your following day. Know when and where you are going to run, don't wait for a chance to run to happen, plan ahead. By doing this your decisions are made and you can focus on running rather than deciding!
- Log your running each day. Use a notebook, a calendar, or an online journal, whatever works for you. You don't have to write a book, just keep basic details (how far, how long, how you felt, and details like was it an easy run, a workout or a race, maybe who you ran with.