Breaking Bad Habits

As novice runners, we’re looking for all the advice we can get. That’s why we fell in love with this article from Runner’s World. Breaking bad running habits isn’t easy, but the sooner you spot the bad habit, the sooner you can try to break it!

Do you have any bad habits?

Amy: I must admit, I’m guilty of all of these bad habits, except of course, overtraining. Skipping my post-run stretches is probably the worst habit I have. My mindset always used to be “ok, lets hurry up and get this over with.” I hated exercise and wanted it to be over as soon as possible, so I skipped the stretching. After just a few weeks of training, I’m starting to see that stretching will help with the pain I feel during my runs, and sitting outside to stretch on a beautiful summer day doesn’t seem so bad.

Kate: I have a lot of trouble establishing good habits, so most of my bad habits consist of forgetting or skimping on things I should be doing. For example, I get dehydrated easily because I forget to drink enough water. And like a lot of people, I’m bad about stretching after workouts.

Were you surprised by some of the bad habits listed?

A: I was most surprised by “forgoing SPF” mainly because it never occurred to me to put sunscreen on before going for a run. A valuable lesson to learn, and thankfully before I turned into a lobster.

K: I was surprised by “being your own doctor,” especially because I know a lot of athletes who assume they know their body better than a doctor. It never occurred to me that this might keep people from taking their injuries seriously.

How do you plan on breaking these habits?

A: I’m definitely going to start wearing sunscreen on my runs, regardless of how cloudy/sunny it is outside. Not stretching is also a habit I need to break. The article linked to some great new stretches for me to try out, including stretches for when you’re in a hurry. Being more educated on the dangers of not taking the time to stretch is also a big motivator for me to break this habit.

K: I’ve been trying some creative ways to stay hydrated, like drinking flavored seltzer during the day and “pre-portioning” water with labeled bottles so it’s easy to keep track of how much I need to drink. In terms of not stretching, we stop at a pond on the walk back after every workout to look for frogs, fish—we’ve even seen a few swans. I’ve started squeezing in a few stretches whenever we stop there, in the hopes that it makes a difference (and I think it already has). 

Training Update:

A: I now look forward to getting out of work and spending time outside running. Before I would spend all day coming up with excuses not to run or go to the gym. In just two weeks, my mindset has changed which I’ve always considered my biggest obstacle. My ankles still throb and my calves cramp up, but I can breathe easier and increase my distance. I’ve even noticed my pace pick up a little bit. Once I can make stretching a habit, hopefully it won’t be as painful on my legs!

K: Has anyone ever gone into a workout already a little stressed, and then started accidentally hyperventilating during their workout to the point of bursting into tears while running? …No? Just me? It was a tough week. And my running buddy was a little shocked that I 1) burst into tears and 2) just kept running. But every workout I notice something a little different. It’s easier to breathe, or my calves aren’t so tight, or my mind is just a tiny bit clearer than it was before. It’s taking a lot of energy to stay focused and to keep getting out there, but I can already tell that this is becoming a good habit.

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