It’s surprisingly easy to get stuck in a rut. Choose the same path two or three times when you start a running or walking habit, and suddenly that path becomes an unquestioned part of your workout. Or maybe you vary your location, but you always do a 5K at “oh my god I’m going to die” pace. Well, stop it.
Yeah, yeah, you chose this run for a reason. But let’s look at all the options. You could run long or short, morning or night, fast or slow, hilly or flat, on roads or on trails. You could run at a steady pace, or you could mix up your speed with a set of intervals. You could run laps of a short loop, or do a long out-and-back. You could listen to pump-up music, catch up on a podcast, or you could leave the headphones at home and just listen to yourself think.
When you pick one of these options, you’re missing out on all the rest. There’s nothing wrong with a fast 5K on the paved path in the park at 7PM while you listen to Radiolab and stop at exactly two bubblers. But you owe it to yourself to find out what happens if you change one factor — maybe run a slower pace. In that case you might finish the run feeling better about yourself, and not dread it so much the next time.
If you’re still struggling to get yourself out the door at all, familiarity might help you feel comfortable. If that’s the case, consider familiarity to be a training tool, and ditch it the second it stops helping you.
Because eventually you’re going to find out that you’ll get better at running when you allow yourself to run fast and slow, long and short, sometimes distracting yourself with music and sometimes paying close attention to your surroundings and your effort level.
So, your assignment this week is to switch something up. What’s something that you always do, that you’ve forgotten to question? Find out what happens when you change it up.