It’s all just practice

At first you might be practicing getting up a little early and going for a walk. You could practice drinking more water throughout the day, or only having 3 coffees instead of 5. You could practice going to bed a little earlier each night, so you get a full night’s sleep.

Practice does not make perfect. Practice makes habit. Once you’re in the habit of going for that morning walk, you could choose to bump up the difficulty and add in a block long jog here and there. Now you’re practicing running.

I find that just practicing isn’t enough motivation for me. I need a goal to shoot for. I can’t stand exercise, but training is awesome. Training means you have a training schedule, which you practice trying to stick to. Sometimes work interferes, or loved ones fall ill, and you have to shift your priorities, and thus, the schedule. That’s OK. Get back into the practice, keep the habit going, keep trying, keep improving.

The longer your practice a habit, the closer you get to achieving fluency, but you have to watch out for plateaus. Once the body adapts to a certain distance, or a certain pace, it will stop improving. Then it’s time to add in some hill sprints, or fartleks, or tempo runs, or strength training.

I used to be fluent in laziness, in telling myself that because could achieve all kinds of things, I didn’t need to bother trying to do so. The potential was all that mattered. This was obviously bullshit, but it was hard to tell while I was swimming in it.

Four years ago I started practicing 1-2 mile runs, and I built up from there. I feel that I’ve become fluent in setting slightly crazy but still achievable challenges for myself. I do more in a day now than I did in a week 10 years ago, and I’m happier and healthier than ever. I can’t wait to see where I’ll be in another decade. I bet that guy is pretty awesome.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Will Durant, summarizing Aristotle

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