I am often surprised at how quickly I can settle into a routine. A week or two is often all it takes for me to turn something new into a habit.
This is often a good skill to have and I take advantage of it when I can.
It can often, however, leave me at a disadvantage.
Last fall, I decided for reasons unknown to me at the time, that I needed to get better at running hills. I also decided that I did not just want to do hill workouts. I wanted to incorporate hills into my regular runs.
So I changed my weekday morning route from 5-7k to 8k and added a pretty tough hill into the route. I also changed my long runs to incorporate that same hill as well as anther tough hill. No matter how tired I was, no matter how much I didn't feel like forcing myself up those hills, I refused to change the route. And trust me, at 6am, I often wanted nothing more than a mindless (and flat!) running route. As a result of my stubbornness and my new-found routine, I've gotten better at hills and better at recovering from them in the middle of long runs.
My Boxing Day PB proved that as did my 20k long run in Florida that, as I discovered, was chock full of hills - some of them pretty tough. I ran up them all, continued running once I reached the top and still had enough energy to do the distance.
Getting better at hills is the positive outcome of my forcing myself into a new habit.
Getting slower overall was the negative one.
During the winter months I ran more slowly than I was used to running simply because of all the snow and ice. It was impossible to gallop down the street and I setting into a safer, slower pace that slowed even more when I climbed hills.
Now the snow is melted and I've done a few runs on bare pavement. My pace, despite efforts on my part to push a little harder, does not seem to want to come back to it's pre-winter speed.
It looks like I'm going to have to get into a new running routine. One that has me continuing to run my hilly routes but that also includes one speed workout per week. I haven't done specific speed workout in over two years. Between injuries, recoveries, and triathlon training, it just never seemed to fit easily into the routine.
Guess it's time for a new routine.