Fitness

Turia Pitt on how to make a running habit stick


Turia Pitt offers guidance on how to stay motivated, and ensure that running becomes a permanent practice in your life.

There’s a widely held belief that “fit and healthy” people must leap out of their beds at 4am every morning, energy blazing, fuelled only by a bone broth/kombucha/spirulina smoothie.

That’s attainable for a select few, I’m sure, but for the rest of us mere mortals, it seems like a recipe for disaster.

So here’s my trick: forget motivation, and focus on consistency. That’s how you make your new habits stick. I know, I know. Consistency isn’t sexy. It’s not cool. It’s not groundbreaking. But it’s going to get you where you need to go.

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When it comes to your fitness, consistency means you exercise most days, you eat mostly good food and you don’t go out on all-night benders too often. And when it comes to the quality of your workouts, I like to aim for what I call “the golden ratio”.

Basically, it means that not all of your training sessions will be great or feel good – some will, others won’t, and that’s OK. The golden ratio doesn’t require every session to be awesome, it just requires that you keep showing up.

And if you keep showing up, you’ll get better over time.

Before you even lace your joggers up, be clear on what a goal looks like for you.

If it’s been a few years since you ran, or you’re a newbie, a 5km goal is a great place to start; if you run a few times a week, 5km might not be the most exciting thing to aim for.

If your goal doesn’t make you a little uncomfortable and nervous, then it may not be worthy of you.

Two strategies to ward off boredom while running

  1. Focus ahead of you

“When I run, I only ever think about running to the next lamppost – that’s all I’ve got to do. Once I get there, I focus on the next one,” Pitt says.

“This is the same strategy I used in Ironman events. If I thought about the race in its entirety (swimming 4km, cycling 180km, and then running a 42km marathon), I would’ve felt overwhelmed.

It was far too massive to think about all at once. So what did I do? I chunked it – buoy by buoy in the swim, aid station by aid station in the bike ride, and 1km at a time in the run.”

  1. Imagine stuff

“A lot of the time, our bodies are totally fine to keep going – it’s our heads that are telling us we need to stop. So try tricking your brain,” Pitt says.

“Put on the soundtrack to your favourite action movie, and imagine you’re running from zombies, or maybe that one parent who keeps asking you to join the P&C committee.”

Snacking for stamina

Ben Lucas, director of Sydney fitness studio Flow Athletic and founder of the Sofa2Surf running program, shares the foods to fuel up on pre- and post-run.

Before a run: Something like a banana or peanut butter that will give you fuel but not weigh you down.

After a run: Something high in protein to help muscles recover – think eggs, cottage cheese, a good-quality protein shake, lean meat.

Add some fruit or veg to replenish your micronutrient store and boost your antioxidant levels.

For more information or to sign up to RUN with Turia, visit turiapitt.com/run.