Tag Archives: Running routes

The Learning Power of Habit

One of the keys to exercise improving your fitness is that humans are creatures of habit.

You probably didn’t think much about using the bathroom or preparing coffee or breakfast this morning. Your process for doing any of the above has probably become automatic. You have formed habits that eliminate your need to expend mental energy undergoing any of those tasks.

This is also why projects and complicated tasks can be so mentally tiring. Our minds are just as capable of fatigue as our bodies. When we are not used to doing something to the point of habit, we have to mentally work harder to do it because we have to think through it.

This is one reason why my 20 minute workout is so much easier and faster for me to do than someone else’s 45-60 minute workout, and one reason why if you were to try it you would initially find it more difficult.

I have gotten so accustomed to the exercises I am doing for my separate workouts that I don’t need to put a ton of thought into it during the moment, nor is the challenge of lifting a heavy weight compounded by the relative muscle confusion of having to work through a new, different exercise. This is often what pushes a lot of people away from exercise after a few workouts.

But, is that not harmful, as some fitness experts would say? Won’t that lead to training stagnation from the monotony of the same workout every day?

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My running workout principles

Here’s how I approach a run in general, my tactics and mindset before I head out on any run, how I plan a run and subsequently carry it out, etc.

Since this encompasses just about every facet of a variety of running workouts, this is going to go a bit across the board.

When possible, multi-task a run

Most of my runs are destination runs rather than round trips, meaning it starts in one location and ends at a different location I wanted to go to for unassociated reasons. For example, most days I run home from work. This is a destination run intended to commute me home from work, and the commute isn’t necessarily the primary purpose for the run.

I’ll warm up for speed workouts by taking an easy run to the workout site from home, and then I’ll cool down by running back home from the workout.

At one point I had season tickets to Loyola Chicago basketball, plus I worked in nearby Evanston. I’d often run from work to the campus for games, then at times run home after the games. This was an easy 6-10 miles.

None of this is breakthrough science. A lot of people do this sort of thing, I’m sure. But I make a practice of it, rather than do it incidentally.

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