Finding Time to Train and Creating a Habit

By USA FIT Tampa Bay

We are all busy. With work, school, kids, meetings, cooking dinner, and running our households – sometimes adding a training program into the mix can be a bit overwhelming. However, it is almost always better to make the effort and squeeze in the training, then skipping it. You’ll feel healthier, less stress, and come race day, you will appreciate all the training you managed to fit in that hectic schedule.

We know that it takes three to four weeks to create a new habit. So for those starting or re-starting the program, here are some tips on how to get started and stay on track.

  1. Research tells us that in order for an action to become a habit, it has to be pleasurable. So start small and keep your intensity manageable so that you feel successful at the end of your exercise sessions.
  2. Accountability is a powerful motivator. Find a running/walking buddy, and you can help keep each other focused.
  3. Plan for your obstacles. Notice what gets in the way of your success, and nip the problem in the bud. The less interference you have as you develop your new habit, the more likely you are to exercise. Ex: Lay out your shoes, watch, and clothes in advance.
  4. If you find it tough to find the time to exercise, schedule it into your day just like you would a business meeting or a date. Set an alarm if it helps you.
  5. The more consistent your exercise is, the more likely it is to become a habit. Do a little something even on your running rest days — even if it’s just for 10 minutes — and include some cross-training to keep your mind engaged and your habit formation momentum riding high. Yoga, rowing, dancing, cycling, swimming … the sky’s the limit.
  6. Set a consistent time for your daily exercise. If you don’t set a time, it’s easy for the day to pass without having run or walked.
  7. Feeling “too tired?” Chances are, you’ll feel more energetic after exercising, even if it’s just for ten minutes. Give it a shot. Just head out the door. Even if you’re feeling resistant to that day’s exercise, commit to at least putting on your shoes and heading out the door. Often, overcoming that one step is all you need to get moving.
  8. Log your activity and reward yourself for milestones accomplished.
  9. If you skip a day you planned to exercise, or an exercise session was not as successful as you’d hoped: 1) Don’t beat yourself up, and 2) Try again. We all mess up – habit formation takes practice!