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Establishing a New Normal

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At the beginning of this year (2k12), we started this here website. Early on, I mentioned a few tips ostensibly for new runners (hint: they were mostly for myself). For me, the most important was the following:

The way to get running to really, finally take is to do some adjusting of your routine in order to give yourself the greatest probability of getting your ass out of the door. If you run in the morning, set your gear out the night before, and get your shoes on within a minute or two of getting out of bed. If you run after work, lay your clothes out on the bed before you leave for work – or leave your running shoes on the passenger seat of your car so that they give you the stink eye on the way home.

Eight months later, maybe it's time to revisit this.

When committed to training I tend to do a pretty good job of doing the things that I've decided need to be done. The tricky part is making sure that I'm actually committed to the task at hand. Early this year I had a half marathon to train for but wasn't focused; I wasn't aiming for a PR and I wasn't afraid of the distance or the course. Now I'm facing a distance that at the very least intimidates me, and at the very worst makes me second-guess my mental condition when I signed up.

That trepidation has had a pronounced effect on my training. I'm more prone to get up because I feel like I need to get up and run. It's hot out, sometimes miserably hot. I need to get my runs done with so that I can recover and run the following morning. Mostly, I just have to get up because to do anything else is knowingly setting myself up to not run.

It's a easier getting up at 5:15 AM now compared to four or five months ago, but it's still not easy; the path of least resistance is always to go back to bed. Habit helps avoid that. A lot. There haven't been a lot of other changes that I've made to 'normal'. I wake up early and go run. That's it. There's nothing tricky or earth-shattering about the change -- I just get up and go.

It's taken five months of consistent habit to become my new normal.

In the short term I'll keep getting up early because my fall race intimidates me. In the long term I'll need another solution, or at least another short-term fix. It's much less work to go back to the old way, the easy way. For now, I don't want that to happen.