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10 Habits For Successfully Completing Any Endurance Event

Posted by Jason Sissel
10 Habits For Successfully Completing Any Endurance Event

Many people think that training for an endurance event is simply a physical task. But successful competitors know that endurance events require mental stamina as well as physical ability. The training process is the time to develop the habits and abilities that will sustain you when you need them most. Here are 10 habits to develop during training that will lead to success in endurance events:

  • Be consistent. Consistency is not only crucial for developing the needed physical endurance, but is key for developing mental toughness. Training consistently, regardless of weather, mood, or distractions keeps the mind focused and builds discipline you need during an event.
  • Train for a greater purpose. Endurance training is most effective when it is personally meaningful. Whether you run to benefit a cause you believe in, or for the sake of a loved one, or to accomplish an important personal goal, having a sense of meaning and purpose behind what you are doing will sustain your efforts during difficult challenges.
  • Do not “cram” your training. It takes 12-20 weeks to train for a long-course event such as a half marathon or marathon, depending on your base level of fitness. Unlike college, where you might be able to pass a test by staying up all night studying, you simply can't effectively train your body for sustained exertion in a short period of time. Attempting to compress your training into a few weeks just before an event is a recipe for failure and injury.
  • Recruit people to support you. Having a coach, partner or teammates improves both consistency and athletic performance. We are subconsciously motivated to perform better when we are surrounded by inspiring people, so recruit someone to train with you in order to do your best. And while it’s important to get a good training partner and/or coach it’s also important to filter the noise of people trying to give you advice or criticize your goals and efforts.
  • Recover well. Rest and recovery are as important to successful training as the workout and exercise themselves. It is during relaxation and sleep that your muscles heal and repair themselves, getting stronger for the next effort. And during deep sleep, the brain releases hormones that speed healing and reduce soreness. Make recovery time a priority in your training.
  • Regularly replace your shoes. Shoes are key to performance and protection from strain and injury. Change your shoes every 450-550 miles, or when the outer sole has worn through to the midsole, or when the shoe is soft and collapses easily under pressure. Purchase high-quality shoes that fit you well, and replace them when they wear out. Look upon your worn-out “shoe graveyard” with pride!
  • Do not treat training as a weight loss plan. While weight loss may occur during rigorous training, think of it as a side effect, not a goal. Muscle weighs more than fat, so it's possible to become very fit without losing weight. Focus on your training and on your greater purpose, and let your body naturally adapt to your new physical habits. Don't use weight or size as measures of success.
  • Fuel your body and hydrate well. Your body cannot perform well without good nutrition and hydration, and diet plays a key role in your training success. Your body requires carbohydrates for quick energy, protein for strong muscles and bones, and fats for sustained energy. Hydration is essential for every part of physical health, including cardiovascular health and injury prevention. Do not rely solely on feelings of hunger or thirst, but make healthy eating and adequate hydration a daily habit.
  • Do not "race your training." While it may be tempting to add a little competition to your training, do not give in to the impulse and race your partner or teammates. While it may lead to greater speed in the short term, the best long-term benefits are gained from progressing training naturally, and racing may lead to overexertion and injury. And emotionally, the best partnerships are collaborative and supportive – introducing competition may be destructive over time. Always stick to your training plan: easy days should be easy, hard days should be hard.
  • Promptly address injuries. Nearly half of all runners injure themselves every year, and many of those injuries recur in time. Take overstrain and injury seriously and react appropriately. Maintain consistency but reduce intensity, and always seek medical advice if you experience lasting pain. Prevent injuries by always warming up before exercise, and using good form even when you are tired.

These habits will keep you healthy and result in optimal performance during endurance events. Keep your long-term goals in mind, and train body and mind for lasting results.

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