Develop a Habit One Step at a Time—Part 1

Here it is February and you are no closer to getting started. There is no plan in place and you are getting frustrated. There is nothing easy and you must return to the basics.

Before you can start, a decision must be made that you see a need for a program to start walking, running, or exercising in general.

The exercise program which you select will be successful once you develop it to be a habit which can be repeated. A way to improve the habit is to set a reward which you will derive from it. A reward could be the loss of some unwanted pounds or that colorful race t-shirt after the completion of a race.

Do you have the control of your mornings or evenings? Select what time of day you will devote to your program and be consistent. Establish how much time you have available.

An added motivation is to have a partner join you. The starting point could be from a local coffee shop or within a neighborhood. Have each person discuss what they want to get out of the program. You’ll discover there will be shared goals. You can set a challenge that in 90 days all of you will enter in a 5K (3.1 miles) race together. All you will need is one completion and the t-shirt will validate the work that all of you have devoted to the training.

A future runner spoke to me about how she was up to two miles, but had an injury and never went back. Now she wants to get back to do a 5K. I am going to consider helping with the training but first I gave her a homework assignment of a few questions:

How bad do you want it?

How many days a week do you have available to run?

What is it you are looking for?

Do you think this is going to be easy?

What was the most you ran before?

How long did you run?

What kept you from getting back to running?

What fears do you have about running, if any?

Do you have the confidence in yourself?

The questions above I direct back to you. In order to have anything work, you need to be honest with yourself. It is so easy to make an excuse for not exercising and it’s your way of saying that you do not care about your health.

Here is another exercise. Using a blank sheet of paper, draw a line down the center. The left side is a plus sign and the right is a negative sign. You know what is coming: list the positive benefits on the left and negative on the right.

In doing this, you can see for yourself that it might be the right thing to do. Since I do not have any formal training I can’t quote sound medical opinions or other long articles which you may read. What I know has been by trial and error.

I can direct you to do a Google search to look up a 5K training program (there are many out there) and with all of them you have to do some running. The piece they do not mention is that you will have to train your mind to build up your self-confidence that the 3.1 miles can be achieved. You can complete one and then you begin to duplicate that each month until they become a habit.

Once the feet start moving, all you have to do is go along with the program and let the body take over.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series about developing habits, one step at a time.



About George Banker

George Banker is the Operations Manager for the Army Ten-Miler (US Army / MDW), the second largest 10-mile road race in the Unites States and this year the race will accept 35,000 runners. The responsibilities include the operational planning, logistics, community outreach, designing of the course, volunteer recruitment, and support to medical and police jurisdictions. Started August 2003. Prior to joining the Army Ten-Miler he worked 25 years at IBM serving in administration and management within the federal marketing environment in Bethesda, Maryland. Retired from the U.S. Air Force (Enlisted grade Technical Sergeant) Experience include ground refueling supervisor and cryogenic fluids production supervisor. He received 14 military decorations including the Air Force Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/Palm, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal (1969-1989). Since 1983, a freelance photographer and journalist, Senior Writer for the Runner’s Gazette, contributor to Running Journal newspaper, and RunWashington. District of Columbia Road Runners Club (DCRRC) Hall of Fame Inductee for 2006 The former president and meet director for the Mid-Atlantic Corporate Athletic Association Relays (1986-1993). Director for the Washington’s Birthday Marathon Relay (1989-1999), started the Relay. Race consultant, and steering committee member with the following events: Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run (1989), George Washington’s Parkway Classic 5K/10 Miler, Lawyer’s Have Heart 10K, Marine Corps Marathon (Historian - Ad Hoc Publicity Committee) , Navy Half Marathon & 5-Miler, and Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon. State Record Keeper USA Track & Field, 1993 to present. Chair, Trends and Issues Committee, Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) 1993-2000. Member USA Track and Field Hall of Fame. Avid runner, 99 marathons completed and serve in additional capacity as race announcer, media relations, and invited elite runner coordinator for several local area races. Six JFK 50 Miler completed to date. The Marine Corps Marathon in October 2014 will be my 100th marathon and my 31st time running it. Author of “The Marine Corps Marathon A Running Tradition” (1976-2006) September 2007 publish date. Completed 30 MCM’s to date (2013). ( December 2006 MetroSports Athlete of the Month Hall of Fame Inductee 2011 – Marine Corps Marathon Running PRs: Marathon 3:04:32 (’88) Houston-Tenneco, Half-Marathon 1:22:40 (’84) Philadelphia Distance Run, 10-Miles 1:02:10 (’87) Army Ten-Miler, 10K 37:42 (’84) Diabetes Derby, 5K 18:28 (’88) Stanford University, 1600 Meters 5:18 (’87) Gallaudet University. Graduated with an AA in Accounting from Prince George’s Community College with honors, Largo, MD (’76), and a BBA in Accounting from George Washington University, Washington, DC (’84). Educational community involvement: Volunteer speaker, Connection Resource Bank, Division of Family and Community Partnerships, Montgomery County Public Schools (1995- Present)

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