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Good habits to improve your marathon running efficiency

02 May, 2019 • by Admin

It doesn’t matter how determined you are, without good habits it will be difficult to fulfil your potential as a runner.

The key to successful running is nailing proper habits. If you’re running with no good habits to aim at, you won’t be motivated and will fall into bad habits like skipping training or running fewer miles than you know you should. It seems like a simple habit to establish and keep, but you’d be surprised at how many runners just run without having anything in mind they want to achieve.

All of the online articles have reinforced that consistency is king. It’s the secret sauce of good training and if you don’t have it, you suffer the consequences. I hear about this constantly and it breaks my heart. See for yourself.

Consistent Running with “Systems”

A running system is a habit shortcut that holds you accountable and makes it easier to accomplish your goals. Systems are proactive – they’re set up before you go running to help you accomplish your workout. They anticipate barriers and methodically create a solution to them. And like any habit, it can be learned. It’s easier to get through the lows of training or bad weather when you have good systems.

Enjoy the Process

Many runners make the mistake of only setting outcome goals, and their idea of success or enjoyment hinges upon hitting a desired time in workouts or races or securing a particular placing on race day. This can induce unnecessary pressure and lead to frustration and feelings of failure if these goals aren’t achieved, thus killing the fun factor of one of our favorite activities.

Even though races tend to be the culmination of weeks or months of training, the reality is the process never really ends. Learn to appreciate the enjoyment of an easy run as much as the feeling of pushing beyond your limits in a workout or race. Cherish the time you get to spend with your training partners and motivate one another to improve.

Don’t sink too low after a poor race or let a bombed workout ruin your day. Remind yourself that training is an ongoing purpose and the more enjoyment you can find in it—even on your toughest days—the more effective tomorrow will be.

Never overdo it

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ph.D. studied how the best performers continuously improve and concluded that they all pushed themselves just a bit beyond of limit. This is the kind of growth-promoting stress that people name is as “just-manageable challenge”. So you have to know yourself well and set a goal that is challenging, a bit outside of your comfort zone, but also manageable. What you are after is the sweet spot. For example, if you are running 30 miles a week, try building up to 40, instead of a big jump like 60.

Eat a proper diet

Anyone who has heard of the word ‘habit’, has heard it in the context of diet. What we eat on a day to day basis, determine our eating habits. As humans, we need food to survive. Therefore, everyone has an eating habit of some kind. Eating habits have a dramatic effect on your success as a runner, so it’s important to establish and maintain a proper diet.

Examples of bad eating habits include those which are high in processed foods, too much fat, lots of sugar. This kind of an eating habit means your body won’t have an appropriate energy source to fuel it for running, meaning you’ll feel lethargic and get worn out quicker.

Another bad habit is eating at inappropriate times like right before bed or minutes before a run. Eating before bed is likely to make you gain extra unwanted weight, which will have a negative effect on your running, whilst eating before you run can make you throw up. It sounds nasty, but I’ve seen it happen countless times.

It’s important to establish and maintain healthy eating habits. Eat natural foods which aren’t processed, low in saturated fats, and give you a generous dose of vitamins and minerals.

Challenge yourself

There is always room for growth and personal development. Becoming successful and reaching new goals means moving forward, which means you should always be learning.

This doesn’t mean doing more every day or working yourself into the ground. It means not staying safe and doing things that are now easy.

You should always challenge yourself, and even if you choose something that isn’t directly related to being successful in work, you will find that challenging yourself with something outside of your comfort zone in any aspect of your life will make you a more successful person.

Take recovery seriously

Most runners don’t like to talk about what happens during downtime from training following a big training run or race because most of it, quite frankly, is pretty boring. You are only as good as you recover because recovery is when improvements happen.

As you rest — sleeping, relaxing on the couch on Saturday afternoon, or engaging in something slightly more active, such as your easy run days or appropriate warm-ups and cool-downs — you are reaping the benefits from your hard workouts. Stressed bones, broken-down muscle tissue, and exhausted energy systems are repairing themselves to come back stronger for your next workout and power you to a higher level of performance.

Don’t be a knucklehead and run hard all the time, refuse to take days off, scale back your mileage or make excuses as to why you can’t get enough sleep at night.

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