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Fight the urge to fall back on bad habits

Sandusky Register Staff • Mar 8, 2010 at 8:20 AM

Fighting the urge to fall back into bad habits

We’re at the start of a new decade. The year 2010 has all the makings of being a thoroughly enjoyable time for me.

I’m excited to see how the track team performs in the spring.

From there, I participate in my first marathon May 16 and then into summer training to achieve personal bests in some fall races.

The big event I’m looking forward is helping coach cross-country again. Being able to mentor and coach young adults is truly a rewarding profession I hope to do for a long time.

Along the same lines of coaching, I would not be an honest man if I didn’t admit to indulging in some bad habits here and there.

Probably the first mishap would be neglecting to stretch before or after running.

Even though I could be tiptoeing around injury by not heating up cold muscles, especially here in the belly of winter, there has been factual evidence suggesting stretching causes more injuries than it prevents.

If I happen to stretch, my calves are the only focus.

I lean toward more calisthenics, such as knee lifts, butt-kickers and stride-outs to get my body ready for a run.

Another bad habit is finding every excuse in the book  to not spend time in the weight room or work the core muscles, which are the foundations of any runner.

For unknown reasons, when I am at home and know I have to hit the weights, I always find some phantom reason why staying home would be a better idea. Going to weight room would eventually give me a significantly better chance of completing the Cleveland Marathon than loafing on the couch watching “Divorce Court.”

The core muscles — abs, obliques and pelvic muscles — serve as rubber bands holding everything together. Having a good core allows an individual to last longer, run more efficiently and have a better ability to maintain or utilize speed when the going gets tough.

So, why don’t I regularly take time to do core workouts? Again, finding another reason not to do what must be done is my major flaw.

At the moment, finishing the marathon, 26.2 miles, is feasible. In the beginning, I was training to actually get through the race and survive.

After my 16-miler under two hours on Christmas, I think making waves in Cleveland is an actual possibility. The chance to run the Boston-qualifying time of 3:10 on my first try is not a completely absurd goal anymore.

While reviewing what it’ll take to run “the race of my life,” I am brought down by yet another bad habit. I have little to no self-confidence or determination. I’m more than guilty of being a self-loather and placing limits on my abilities.

This is coming from a guy who has been, at best, average at sports and everything else, not experiencing any personal accolades growing up.

Well, hey, it’s a new year, right? I think it’s time for change. Want to change with me?

Justin Zelm is the assistant track and cross country coach for Perkins High School.

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