In truth, I am a subpar runner. The distance may seem far, but my pace is below average. So I am not qualified to give you advice on being the best runner in the universe.
Instead, I will give you tricks to start and keep running. And the key to that is habits.
Habit is something you do unconsciously. Isn’t it nice to do something good/healthy for yourself effortlessly?
Here are some tricks that work for me, which I get from reading these 2 books.
Make it easy for you to do it.
Have your shoes in the doorway where you see them everyday and put fresh socks in them. Have your running shirt and shorts easily accessible in your drawer. It should take you no more than 5 minutes to get ready. If it takes longer to get ready – you most likely will not do it again.
Coincidently – this works also on cutting bad habits. Make it harder to do it. In Indonesia when we want to reduce ordering food online, We always keep our “go-pay” saldo to a minimum (almost 0). We notice if we have some money in there – we tend to order food online. The action of needing to refill the money is sometimes enough to deter ordering online.
Go on your own pace.
Do not compare yourself to others, If you just started running, you will get tired within minutes. No joke. Run 1K today, Run 2K next week, the numbers do not matter, as long as you make improvement every week.
“Nothing is instant. You are running against yourself from last week. You are a winner if you have done better than last week.”
Another thing that the books elaborate on is compounding effort. Even though you think 1% is small, if you do it every day, at the end of the year the results will be multiplied exponentially. This might be obvious, but you always think you need a “big gesture” to make any significant changes. Some kind of “new year” resolution. But this graph shows that if you do the small things every day, it can too lead to significant changes over time.
Find your own “trigger” to run
Like most people, I work 9-5 every week. If I have to run after that (around 30 minutes to 1 hour), it is going to feel like a “burden” to me. And I will be super tired and probably overeating after that. This will leads to bad habits and most likely I will not repeat it.
Sunday always works for us as a family. We tend to keep nothing on Sunday and my trigger to run is when we finished with house chores (meal prep, laundry, cleaning).
This will probably work differently according to your schedule, please adjust, and find your own trigger.
I used the word “trigger” here, but the two books I mentioned use the word “cue” instead.
See below the video of Ali Abdaal breaking down Atomic Habits book. These 11 minutes might change your life.