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How to use purposeful habits to improve your training regimen

Monday, Feb. 24, 2020

* This article was written by Jenna Westaway, a Canadian middle-distance runner that Lifemark is supporting to help her prepare for the 2020 Olympic Games. Jenna has competed in the 800 metres event at the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot in Poland and the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham in the United Kingdom, among other prestigious international events. If you missed Jenna’s first article, you can find it here.

We’re well into the New Year, and I’ve been hard at work making my Olympic dream into a reality. The difference between a dream and a goal is a well-laid plan. I’ve dreamed of and planned for an Olympic berth since I began competitive running at age 14.

For over ten years, with the help of my team (my coach, teammates, physio, massage therapist, family, friends), I’ve simply tried to be better than I was the day before. I practice “normalizing excellence,” as so many of us do in the activities we’re passionate about. I capitalize on my strengths and patiently improve upon my weaknesses. I work until I get a skill right, then I practice until I can’t get it wrong.

My next big objective is to turn my Olympic dream into a reality, and that’s where healthy habits come into play.

Understanding purposeful habits

February is that time of year when newly-established habits begin to wane if they're not rooted in purpose. If a plan-less dream is a wish, a plan without a dream or a purpose is often a long, agonizing grind. Without a purpose to fuel our actions, our motivation ceases to exist.

That's where purposeful habits come into play. 

My physiotherapist at Lifemark Physiotherapy Jamieson & Townline, Stacey Klawitter, understands the concept of purposeful habits. After prescribing me exercises do to between therapy appointments, Stacey takes the time to walk me through the reasoning for completing each. She helps me understand why each exercise would be helpful, ensuring that I am fully motivated to do my daily “homework”. Understanding exactly how these exercises will benefit me makes them feel less like a chore. And they only take five minutes to complete, too!

I encourage you to look at your own training regimen and meditate on why each exercise is important to help you meet your goals. Rooting your habits in purpose helps making them a priority. If you don’t understand how an exercise can benefit you, ask your Lifemark clinician. They would be happy to give you more information!

My routine

Without further ado, here’s my routine!

Click on this link for a video of my exercise routine. I complete some of these exercises multiple times in a day: when I wake up, before and after runs, before workouts, and if I’ve been sitting for more than an hour. I like to stay active and mobile all day long. My four targets are:

  1. Hip mobility
  2. Ankle mobility
  3. Glute activation
  4. Thoracic spine mobility

My materials in the video above are:

Thank you Lifemark for making homework fun again!

If you’d like to find a Lifemark clinic near you, you can check out the Locations page or book online to schedule an appointment.

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