Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Keep Calm, and Marath On

The hardest part of working out consistently is not what you do, but if you enjoy what you do.

We've all had those days. Some more-so than others. You know you should get up and get active, but you really just want to sit on the couch for juuuuust five more minutes.....


(photo from Google images)
We've also tried tons of exercise fads. Jazzercise, Zumba, P90X, Intensity Intensifying Body Pump Total Body Workout Training...
I'm by no means saying they don't work. What doesn't work is doing something only a couple times and losing any motivation. What works for some, but maybe not be for you personally.

Why is this?

Because the hardest part of working out consistently is not what you do, but that you enjoy what you do.

If you get excited about going to a certain class, or what you're lifting today, or how far you will run...good things will happen. For instance:

1. You will actually continue with the exercise.
2. You will get better at whatever you love to do and therefore want to keep getting better.
3. You will want to get up and do what you love to do.
4. Your mood will be elevated.
5. Your body might/will change for the better.
6. Which will elevate your mood.
7. And you will want to get up and do what you love to do.

It's a glorious cycle, really :]

The cons? You'll spend more money. On necessary equipment (no treads on the mizunos? need new ones! headphones damaged in the rain? to the walmart!) and on other new clothes for your ever-improving physique. And that is definitely a justifiable expense!

But Devon, what about you? What do YOU do?

I'm glad you asked! 

This is how I came to find what I love to do.

I have always been an athlete. I had a 15-year stint as a competitive cheerleader and gymnast and years of track and pole vaulting in high school. I cheered through college at Elon University, and once I graduated...I was stuck. I didn't have a sport anymore. I didn't have practices, games, a training schedule. But I had to keep moving.
So I went to my gym and I tried different things. I took some classes that I spent more time trying to figure out how I was supposed to do a move than what I was supposed to be working, and left disappointed. 
I ended up back lifting weights (which I also enjoy but that is for another post) and then hitting the ground running. Literally.
And I began to love it. More and more I would look forward to the training. Short runs, medium runs, long runs...they're all wonderful to me. I couldn't wait to get out there and run and was jealous of others I saw trotting along on the road when I could not.

Running to me became a moving meditation.

Gone were the days of tripping during step classes, wiggling during Zumba, and trying SO hard to be good at yoga.
I found my niche and I was thriving in it.

But I needed something more.

I needed a goal--both a physical and a mental goal. A challenge. Something HUGE to work for. So, after years of people telling me I should do so, I registered for my first marathon.


It was crazy. I was nervous even clicking 'send' on my registration. But I did it. And other than my 20-miler (more on that later), that was the hardest part. Actually signing up. Committing. But it was what I needed to do.

I made a  schedule with the help of one of the trainers at my gym for 4 running days each week. I stayed on track about 80% of the time, but life happens and things change so I was always open for altering the schedule a little. This took away the stress of the MARATHON commitment. A little wiggle room lessens the blow.

For me, the hardest part of the whole process was mental. On the longest runs, your mind will start to mess with you and tell you that you can't go on. Thatyou'retiredandyourlegsache andyou'restartingtogetablisterandyou'rethirstyandyou'rebreathingheavierandyoujustneedto stopfor five more minutes....

During my 20, I planned to run down a canal for 10 miles and then turn around and run the 10 back. I got a blister within the first 5 that looked as though I got shot in the heel and hurt even worse. There weren't other people on the canal. There were no turns. There was nothing to show you that you actually were moving forward. By 18 on the way back, I was crying, aching, tripping to keep from was by far the worst mental block I have ever had. But I had to keep going. My car was parked 2 miles up the canal.

I didn't stop during the marathon. I didn't stop at the water stops (I had my own bottle with me). I didn't walk. I didn't slow down. I ran straight through that 18 and 20 mile-marker and scoffed. I finished the race on my exact projected time. I can tell you, I have felt what it is like to be floating on cloud nine. And it is AMAZING. 

and then? I got hooked. NJ Marathon 2013!!!

So whether you skip happily into pilates, can't wait to throw some iron around in the dumbbell section of the gym, dance your little heart out, or swim laps like Nemo, find what you love to do even if it means dapple in every class your gym offers and make yourself laugh the whole time. 
Once you find your niche, you will always be your own inspiration.

The hardest part of working out consistently is not what you do, but if you enjoy what you do. 
So, what do YOU like to do???

Thoughts of the day: 
How do dogs with fur that covers their eyes (old english sheepdogs, komondors, puli dogs...) see where they are going?

1 comment:

  1. Didn't stop for water nor to check your phone. Oh wait... you didn't have it with you ;)