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Falling Back into the Habit of Running in 3 Steps

February 26, 2017

Falling Back into the Habit of Running in 3 Steps

A Big Life Transition

Last year in April, Runbell moved from Tokyo, Japan to Portland, Oregon. The move was mostly motivated to have our children enter Kindergarten in America for an American education. As with all big changes in life, habits have had to be recreated.

My habit of running has been one of the casualties of the move and now I'm searching for the way back. 


The Beginning of My Running Habit

I started running almost immediately after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake on March 11th. This giant earthquake taught me the importance of being in shape, and knowing directions. Immediately after the big earthquake the roads were clogged and the trains derailed. Walking, running or biking was the only way to get to and from work. 

On March 18th, 2011 we moved apartments and my habit of running was born. I ran every morning. I ran home from work instead of taking the train. I entered races and got better and better. Running became deeply ingrained in my life and eventually led to the creation of Runbell as a necessary tool for my night runs from work. 

How to Get Back into Running

Running has mostly been replaced with biking in my life now. I bike to the office every morning and bike home every night. I love biking. It's fast and easy to do every day both to and from work. The problem with biking is that it has replaced running, which I love more than biking. I need to be running at least three days a week - four days would be better. 

Using the 3-R's of Habit Change

According to Charles Duhigg, every habit is controlled by the same 3-step pattern. I first read about this pattern from Charles' book, The Power of Habit

  1. Reminder (the trigger that initiates the behavior)
  2. Routine (the behavior itself; the action you take)
  3. Reward (the benefit you gain from doing the behavior)

Now how to apply these 3 R's to running? I've broken my habit into two categories: weekdays and weekends.

Weekday Running Routine

Ideally, I run from the office to home twice a week. 

1. Reminder - Scheduled reminders via my phone on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

2. Routine - Easy. My run home from the office is a routine engrained from Tokyo. It's just how I get home.

3. Reward - I'll take the time on the train during my morning pre-run non-bike commute to read books. I'm currently reading The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau. I miss reading on the train. 


Weekend Running Routine

1. Reminder - My new running partner, Tanken, asking to be taken for a morning run.

2. Routine - This one is harder. My son expects me to play with him in the morning. I'll have to sleep earlier and wake up earlier to be back in time for when he gets up. 

3. Reward - A tired dog and a great start to the weekend. 


Now getting my dog to be a good running partner is a work in progress. We'll cover that topic in another blog post!

What are some habits in your life and do the 3 R's apply to your running routine? 

The Goal - A Race

Last and not least, of course, one more big motivation is a race to be training towards. Having a date with a target race time keeps me focused on an intermediate goal. Now to find some good summer runs in the Portland area. This blog post has some great tips for running a better, faster marathon.

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