On average it takes around two months to form a habit or 66 days to be exact. Good running habits are so important to us runners, especially when it comes to injury prevention and looking after our bodies so that is just too long to wait. Here is a break down five good habits to add to your training now which will make you a better all-round runner.
1. Start strength training at least 3 times a week.
It only has to be a 15-20 minute session to gain benefits. A lot of runners are put off from doing any strength or mobility work because it is ‘boring’ or ‘they don’t have time for it’. A great way to start adding strength training to your running is to set an alarm on your phone about an hour before you are going to go to bed to fit in your short strength workout. This will build the habit and you’ll soon be doing it without fail.
The benefits of strength training far outweigh the reasoning behind not being bothered to do them.
Think of your body as a car. Your strength and mobility work are your service and MOT. Your car doesn’t function properly until you give it some TLC, treat it with respect and keep all the nuts and bolts in working order. You wouldn’t neglect your car so it stops working the way it should be, so why do the same for your body?
Strength training prevents injuries by strengthening our muscles and connective tissues and when done properly can develop our neuromuscular running patterns, it can play a big role in our running style, cadence and stride length.
Here is a great article by James Dunne at Kinetic Revolution on a strength running guide.
2. Being consistent with your training
It’s all very well you being a hero for a week and training for 10 hours but are you going to keep that up leading into the next week? It is a much better practice to train consistently throughout the weeks rather than do one big week and the rest do very little.
Forming the good running habit of consistency means you’re disciplined and don’t skip a run just because you’re tired or you don’t really feel like training. It is so much better for your body to adapt to a stable training regime to maintain your fitness and training load, rather than running when you feel like running. This is okay if you aren’t running for performance gains.
To become a better runner, consistency really is key. Find a good training plan or hire a coach to write one for you and stick to it religiously. It’s a habit all successful runners know about and have.
3. Having a goal and sticking to it.
When it comes to training for a specific race it can be very tempting to enter another race because it’s local and you fancy it but does it bode well with the long term goal? Are you going to lose a crucial long run because you fancied a race?
Build the good running habit of sticking to your training plan and if you have a coach, discuss with them to see if it would fit with the overall plan to sneak that cheeky race in. You may be able to turn it into a key session.
Not forgetting to mention that if you are running with no target to aim at, you won’t be motivated to run at all when the going gets tough.
It seems like a simple habit to establish and keep, but you’d be surprised at how many runners just run without having a goal in mind they want to achieve and just run for the hell of it and get bummed down when they don’t reach the times they thought they could.
It doesn’t matter what your goal is either, it could be something as simple as running for an extra 30 mins in your week. Ask yourself what you want to achieve, set a goal for yourself, familiarise yourself with it.
Obviously life can dictate to what goals you can set but if you want something bad enough then go and get it.
Once it’s been overcome, set yourself another goal and repeat. Do this enough time, and you’ll develop a good habit of setting and achieving goals with a purpose. You’ll become a better runner for it.
4. Reflect and learn from good training and races as well as the bad
As runners, we are so easily critical of ourselves. When we have a bad race we over analyse what went wrong, what we could do to be better or blame it on the weather.
Although it is so important to learn from the bad training sessions and races, why not learn from the awesome sessions and PB races?
Think about it, the more you can engrain in your mind to what you did right that day, the more you can implement it into your training and when you think things are turning out for the worse.
Regularly reviewing your training and making changes as necessary, is a good habit to fall into and something all successful runners do. If something isn’t working, don’t keep doing it.
This is why it is so important to be disciplined with yourself or chat to your coach who can mentor you on the right path!
Relating back to learning from the bad races when things aren’t working out after trying them one way, find a new way and try that. Don’t keep hitting the wall if your current regime just isn’t working for you, change it up a bit. only you know what is and isn’t working for you and if you really need help deciding the right path to go on you could enlist the help of a running coach.
5. Run with others
This good running habit is super powerful, not only is it a motive to get out of the door on those early mornings but it also plays massively on your running mental health.
Running with a buddy or a group can get you in a positive mindset, especially if you surround yourself with runners that are of the same ability as you.
Not only will you be running the same pace as them in training but you will also no doubt race with them, share the same goals and push each other in training sessions.
Studies back this approach too. According to a study by the Society of Behavioral Medicine, people who exercise with others are more likely to stay consistent with their training program than those who didn’t. It’s a win-win!
Build your running family and you’ll become a better runner for it, either build relationships in person, in forums or in Facebook run-specific groups!
Implement these habits into your training and you’ll be a happier, faster, more knowledgable runner than ever before.
Do you have any running habits that you follow? Let us know in the comments or on our socials! 🙂