A while back, I wrote a story for New Scientist about the neuroscience of habits: how they are formed in the brain and why they are so hard to break. The context matters a lot with habits; when we’re in the same environment, doing the same routine, it can be hard to change things. One of the best times to break a bad habit or start a new one is during a major life upheaval: when you’re starting a new job, going on a trip, or moving. Since I’m making the big move from D.C. to Richmond, Virginia soon, I’m hoping to use the opportunity to change some bad habits.
I take a similar approach with each new training season. Maybe it’s not a major overhaul, but it is a fresh start. If you’re currently gearing up for a fall marathon, with a crisp, clean training plan in hand, consider adding one new good habit along with the miles and workouts. Dedicate yourself to it before you get too deep in the routine of extra long runs and carb feasts. I’ve found that if I can get through the first few weeks, my habit sticks around even through the monster weeks of hard training. Read more >>