TIME FOR A CHANGE
REGROUP, RETOOL & IMPROVE YOUR DAILY HABITS
By Brian Metzler
Amid the dangerous and difficult time of the conoravirus pandemic, we’re decidedly limited in what we can do as recreational athletes. But that just means it’s the perfect time to regroup, retool and develop better habits.
As runners, triathletes or any kind of recreational athlete, we've probably all developed bad habits or even lazy tendencies through the years. This is a time to start from scratch and rebuild yourself into the best version of you, starting with better habits based on best practices of some of the world's best athletes, your training partners and the common sense we all tend to ignore.
While we need to heed the call for social distancing, working from home and sheltering in place, there is a lot we can do on a daily basis to mold ourselves into the athlete we have always hoped to be. It’s been said that it takes only seven days to turn a new routine into a habit, so what are you waiting for?
1. START YOUR DAY WITH PURPOSE
Consider setting your alarm 30 to 60 minutes earlier than you normally would and you’ll be amazed at home much more you can accomplish. Wake up with a positive attitude (even if you need coffee to kick start that vibe), do some core strength work and then lace up your running shoes and head out the door for an easy run. You’ll be back and ready to attack the rest of your day before you would have normally gotten out of bed. The movers and shakers in this world refer to that as waking up an hour early to live an hour more. It will also help you to shift your waking hours so you’ll go to bed earlier.
2. GET MORE SLEEP
Let’s face it, we’ve all been sleep deprived for years. Modern technology has extended the work and school day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the related stress can start even earlier and continue even later. Enough of that! It’s time to tune out and shut down early. There is nothing on TV or your devices that should keep you up late at night. Start turning down earlier so you can get more rest. If there is any news you need to be aware of, it will be delivered to you the next morning. Better sleep will result in better physical and emotional health.
3. EAT BETTER
While grocery stores have been at the center of attention lately because of the toilet paper crisis, it’s a good time to focus on fresh, high-quality food. Because we’re all spending more time at home, we have more time to prepare and cook good meals. Now is a great time to eat more fruits and vegetables, reduce our carb intake, eat leaner types of protein and, perhaps, most of all, drink more water. If you know you are consuming too many sweets, carbs, junk food or diet soda, now is the time to make a change. Eating better will help you feel better, both physically and mentally.
4. BUILD CORE STRENGTH
From a long-term approach, we can mistakenly think that building core strength takes a lifetime of work and a specific body type. Perhaps we’re fooled by the photos we see on Instagram and in magazines. In reality, it doesn’t take much at all to make ourselves stronger.
Challenge yourself to do sit-ups, push-ups, planks and various pedestal poses every day for 30 days and you can change your life. Throw in a YouTube yoga class, do a series of body weight squat reps in your bedroom
5. EXERCISE EVERY SINGLE DAY
With gyms, fitness studios and pools closed for the foreseeable future, it’s a good time to get out and run. Don’t worry about training, just laced up your kicks and get out the door.
You can decide how far or fast you want to run once you’re out there. Maybe you only have 2 miles in you that day. But maybe you feel like running extra. Or faster. You can mix it up by alternating fast and slow segments across the local park. Or spend 30 minutes alternating between running a mile and dropping down to do 20 push-ups.
6. CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE
Out with the old ways, in with the new! Now is the time to appreciate the little things in live, get back to basics and pursue what you love to do most. Changing your ways so you can become healthier and more rested will lead to an abundance of changes in your life.
You’ll be calmer. You’ll be more productive. You’ll be more creative. You’ll be more inspired. You’ll be happier.
7. THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE
What’s next? Who knows! No one would have expected a scenario like this to impact our lives the way it has, but it’s reality and we’ve got to persevere. This too shall pass, but it will no doubt wind up being a historic time in all of our lives.
There will be a new normal in a few months, but we have no idea what that will look like. But by the time that new normal arrives, there will be no more time for true change. We’ll all just have to adapt. But taking the time now to make simple adjustments will bring about positive change for the rest of your life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BRIAN METZLER
Brian Metzler is the author of “Kicksology: The Hype, Science, Culture and Cool of Running Shoes” (2019, VeloPress). He has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles, wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher and occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado.
He's the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine. He's the author of “Running Colorado's Front Range” and the co-author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running” and “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian's Approach for Every Runner.”
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