With a universal break in the running calendar now in full swing. Many countries in lockdown or isolation it’s easy to fall into a habit of missing runs. However this is the time to show up and master this habit for future running success.
The habit of showing up is a skill that all runners need to master for long term running success and happiness. Not every run will be great, not every run you’ll want to even start. But master the habit of showing up and you are half way there. Resilience will get you as many places as ability in running. Master the habit of showing up and the automatic response when you don’t want to run, will be to go running.
If you can show up often when there isn’t much to train for, imagine what you can do when you are motivated to prepare for your next goal race. The habit must be established before it can be mastered and we see improvement. Showing up consistently when we don’t want to is the only way to master this habit. It is easy to stay motivated when there is a race to prepare for. It’s also easy to train when there is a group run organised to show up for. Holding yourself accountable to every run to do alone can be a different story, but fortunately there are some simple things we can do.
Train with purpose
While most people will use this time to run with a less structured training plan, don’t throw the plan out the window. Every run should still have a purpose.
Your training still needs to have a goal. At the moment the best goal is to build fitness and develop aerobic capacity for when races are announced. With these goals in mind set yourself a specific and manageable challenge to measure progress for the weeks and months ahead. This will give you a chance to get frequent opportunities to measure you progress.
If you set yourself an ambiguous goal in this time and it will be difficult to maintain motivation without a race to drive progress towards. Slow and steady progress towards your goal will keep you motivated in the shorter term.
Schedule each and every run to have a purpose. The three pillars of success for a runner is building endurance, strength and speed. Each run should be building towards improving your fitness in at least one of these areas.
Prepare in advance
It sounds really simple, but if you are going to master the habit of showing up it’s beneficial to prepare to show up. Get your clothing and gear ready ahead of time. When the alarm goes off in the morning make sure you don’t have an excuse to not show up.
Last thing you want to be doing in the morning is searching for your watch, gloves or something you need in the dark. You’ll be wasting valuable time and energy that should be spent focusing on your running.
Be prepared, clothes, shoes and gear out ready. Alarm set giving you time to get ready and get out running. For you to master the habit of showing up make it as easy as possible for you to get out running.
The bad weather plan
Alarm goes off at 5am, you can hear the rain falling from your warm bed. These are the days when it’s really easy to stay in bed, they’re also the days that you know you should run. There would be very few runners who can say they haven’t stayed in bed on these days and not bothered. We’ve all taken the easy option.
Part of getting up and going running is building the resilience you need in long distance races. They won’t wait for the rain to clear to start on race day. You’ve got to get up and run, maybe not every time but more often than not.
Have a plan for bad weather. First of all be flexible with your training and be ready to alter your the run. If the rain is heavy shorten your planned run. It’s better to get something in than nothing.
Just get started. Tell yourself you’ll run for ten minutes and stop if it’s still raining. Once you get started you’ll remember its normally not that bad running in rain and keep going. Getting started on these days is the difficult part.
Invest in the right gear. Spend the money on a good wet weather jacket. If its heavy rain you’ll thank yourself for having the made this choice. Otherwise reward yourself for getting through the tough conditions, whatever you think that should be.
Ultimately these tips are aimed at helping you become a better runner. Now is the time to commit to being a more resilient and dedicated runner. If you can use this time to do this you’ll be fit and ready to get yourself in peak shape for the races you choose.
When we show up consistently we build a habit. When we show up consistently we become a better runner. When we master the habit of showing up consistently improving your running becomes intoxicating and a motivation in itself. Having races to challenge ourselves with become the icing on the cake and the reward for the hard work and dedication.