Get Your Run ‘On the Rails’

There seems to be this paradoxical perception by non-runners (even by some established runners) – it takes a lot of discipline AND most runners are just naturals at running (link provides evidence that maybe we are, just thought was interesting addendum).

Reality check – Those two do not go hand-in-hand, instead they conflict. I would say it takes discipline. Period. Consider the following:

  • What time slot in your day is dedicated to running? This is as literal as it sounds and probably the most important thing to establish. You need to identify, carve out and establish a ‘time’ that you run. Specificity will (and should) flex to the reality of your life. But you need to put a flag in a specific timeframe. When do I run? I can always tell you, without fail, that I run in the morning before work. This usually means starting at maybe 5:30 AM or so. Depends on the day, the miles needed, etc. The point is I don’t have to constantly figure it out. More importantly if something comes up for consideration in that time slot (good thing it is early, not much does!) my default is to consider if it is more important than my run, not the other way around. Turns into discipline (appears that way) but really just starts as a committed plan.
  • What about the seasons? The answer to ‘what time’ will only work if you consider variations in your environment. I’m prepared to run in 73 degree weather at 5 AM or in 15 degree weather at 5 AM. If you need the sun to always be ‘up‘ be sure to consider this (with the changes in the seasons).
  • What are your motivators? This is varied and personal. For those who struggle with morning runs, or the thought of getting out of bed, let me say this – unequivocally, I have never regretted getting up for a run. I’ve always regretted not getting up though.

Establish Rails.

Yeah, just like a train. Discipline doesn’t come over night in anything, and running is no exception. For some reason many of us seem to be really good at establishing all sorts of deadlines, project plans, milestones, etc, at work yet in our personal life that approach seems like overkill.

Why? I think it has something to do with our fervent debate over work/life balance. Rubbish. Take the best from either world and cross it over baby.  When I paint a room I write up a project plan with dates, timeframes and checkmark boxes for completion. You should do the same. This isn’t just my crazy notion. Check out this great podcast at the site the Accidental Creative. It’s about application of these ideas to creative projects outside of work, but the premise applies just the same to your running plan. [AC Podcast # 143 – scroll down a bit, can play right on the site or download from iTunes.]

Think about it – don’t confuse discipline with desire and endurance. Discipline is the child of planning and persistent application of those plans until they become second nature.

Good luck, keep running and get those feet on the road.

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About Feet on the Road
Avid runner, looking to share what I've learned from trial and error.

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