If you’re like most runners, and certainly like me, there are things you know you would benefit from adding to the mix that you can’t seem to get to stick.
Foam rolling. Yoga. Strength training. Stretching. Mobility.
If you’d like to get more consistent with any of the above, or anything else in your life, prioritize frequency over duration.
Wisdom from Atomic Habits
I first read Atomic Habits several years ago and didn’t think much of it, honestly.
But I reread it recently, and there were a few little bits from the book that really hit home with me this time.
One of which is that when you’re trying to instill a new habit or routine, the number of times you do said thing matters more than the amount of time you do said thing.
To put that another way, it’s frequency over duration that matters most.
A Couple of Concrete Examples
If that still doesn’t make a lot of sense, that’s ok.
I had to chew on it a bit before the light bulb went on, so I’ll try to break it down further with a couple of runner-specific examples.
I’ve not exactly been shy about calling myself out for my hypocrisy when it comes to regularly using the foam roller.
A couple of years ago I set the goal of doing 3000 minutes of foam rolling for the year (I think?) in hopes that would help me get into a good foam rolling routine.
Apparently, that was the exact wrong goal.
I would have been better off setting a goal of foam rolling 300 times over the course of the year, which may just be a goal I’m stewing on for 2024.
The rationale is that by getting on the roller most days in a year, I’ll build the habit to where foam rolling is just something I do most days.
At first, I might only use the roller for a minute or two.
But the more consistently I get on it, the more frequently that 1-2 minutes turns into 5 minutes and eventually 10 minutes or more.
If you want to add a bit more yoga to your life, the same principle applies.
It’s not about doing 30+ minute yoga flows that ingrains your yoga habit.
Instead, aim to do one sun salutation sequence a day at first.
If that one sequence turns into a longer flow? Great.
But if not? No worries. You did your sequence, ticked the box for the day, and continued to build the habit.
No Action is Too Small
The ultimate point I’m trying to make, which I was reminded of while reading Atomic Habits, is that no action is too small to move the needle.
A lot of times I convince myself that one minute of foam rolling or one set of squats or one of whatever is insignificant.
In isolation? Maybe that’s the case.
If that one thing becomes one of many, that one thing can be pretty darn significant.
Because it allows progress to build. Habits to form. Routines to be established.
If there’s something in your life that you’re looking to change, running or otherwise, your clearest path to success is do the smallest thing you can as frequently as possible.
It’ll make a massive difference for you.
Have You Read Atomic Habits? What was Your Biggest Takeaway?
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