I often get asked “how often do you work out?” I normally work out 6 days a week. I do a mix of cardio, strength, and flexibility and mix up hard intense workouts with easier ones. I find that is what suits me best. I don’t beat myself up if I miss a workout nor do I try to “catch up” in my training, for me that leads to injury
Some of my clients find this disheartening. I tell them I didn’t start out exercising 6 days a week. I started with doing fitness videos 3 days for 20 minutes and it was tough at first. As I got stronger I added an extra day and then I added time. Eventually I joined a gym where I worked with a trainer to develop a routine I could do on my own.
Even now I still work with a trainer on occasion and I add new workouts in. Both running and Pilates were challenging when I started; I had to give myself time to build my muscles and my endurance.
I’ve been sick with a cold and strong cough the past week. I skipped working out for a few days and after a few days my body ached from needing to move a bit. I kept the workout light because anything strenuous made my chest burn and the coughing start. I’ll pick up my regular routine when I feel up to it.
Why am I sharing this? Because too we compare ourselves to others and beat ourselves up over what we aren’t doing. Too often we believe that we should push through illness, bad days, or pain in order to reach our goals.It’s not a sign of weakness to give your body the rest that it needs and deserves. It is rather a sign of strength that you can step back and give yourself a break.
Remember you know your body best, not your trainer and not your fitness instructors. Challenge yourself by all means but don’t injure yourself to get there.
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A lot of the things I coach people on I also struggle with. It’s hard to throw away food, it’s hard to not be impatient and to want to see progress more quickly than I am. I split an ice cream with my husband last week. The portions were way too large and I really didn’t want to toss away 1/2 of my treat. We were nowhere near home so a lid would not have helped.
One of my clients struggles with the same thing, although he laughed when I said I split my ice cream. It wouldn’t have occurred to him to do that and he would have eaten the treat whether or not he was sick of it. I’ve been there. It’s hard to change the mindset that you grew up with. Don’t waste food and finish what’s on your plate.
Another client is frustrated when she makes poor choices. It doesn’t happen every day but once in a while, when she has a bad day, she reaches for comfort. I find myself doing that. I was angry and standing in the kitchen in front of the fridge. As I stood there I stopped and asked myself what exactly I wanted and why. Instead of grabbing chocolate I went for frozen berries. They’re cold and sweet with a satisfying texture.
It took a while to get to the point of realizing I am not going to eat 3 scoops of ice cream and feel good. It took practice to recognize that I’m grabbing for food when I’m not hungry. And even longer to make other choices, many of which don’t include food. A walk, some breathing time, a hug or playing with dog go a long way to changing my mood. Plus I am never annoyed with myself for walking or playing with the dog!
I like to keep in mind a quote my yoga teacher once told me about yoga: “it’s called a practice, not a perfect.” It’s good to keep that in mind about life in general. Some days we are going to make better choices than others. Keep practicing and you eventually get better at it.
A huge first for me – I ran 18 miles in one run. What a feeling of accomplishment! Yes, I know I’m going to be running a marathon next month but it’s really empowering to know I can go out and do 18 now.
Yes, I was tired and I didn’t do much that evening. My legs are sore and I did my recovery run today rather than yesterday. Instead I walked a bit, did upper body strength and stretched my lower half out with some yoga.
Today’s recovery run was tough and it was slow. Well recovery runs aren’t supposed to be speedy. I did feel like my gait was off, especially with my right leg. I stopped to stretch along the way and I used the foam roller while dinner was cooking. I’ll be icing it in a bit as well.
It was pouring when I woke up and it was cold. The forecast was for light showers in the afternoon and happily my running partner was fine with running later.
What got me through the run? A few things. I was smart about hydration the day prior and the morning of my run. I made sure to eat enough carbs to keep me full but not make me feel bloated. I took my nutrition with me and made sure to take it early and regularly. I also varied what I was having: chews, a gel and a Honey Stinger Waffle. The waffle is like eating a thin cookie and I LOVE it. (a little too much truth be told – I don’t keep many on hand so I only use them for runs rather than snacking away on them)
I visualized running strong and completing the 18 miles. I read a post that the brain cannot tell the difference between an event that actually happened and one we imagined happening. Visualize finishing a race and feeling good and your brain thinks it actually happened. I’m hoping this really lessens my pre-race jitters!
The biggest motivator on my run was my friend who met me for the last 9 miles. She knew I was a little tired and was easy-going about our pace. She kept up a nice conversation and didn’t get offended if I wasn’t overly chatty back. I was very grateful that she came out in the drizzle and getting me through that run!
How do you motivate yourself on a long run?
Do you prefer to run alone or with someone?
What’s your favorite nutrition when running?
I hated running when I first started out. It hurt, seemed boring and the thought of running for 13 miles seemed like sheer ridiculousness. So why did I stick with it? I signed up with Team in Training and committed to a half-marathon. If I say I’m going to do something I do it.
I made friends on the team which made the long runs seem not so tedious and let me commiserate with others when the speed and hill work sucked. I slowly got to appreciate the sights around me rather than focusing on how much I didn’t love what I was doing.
And then one hot and muggy Saturday I had a really great run. While everyone else was bitching about the heat and humidity I felt good and, oddly, it was one of the easiest runs I had. The weeks after that went up and down but I still had the memory of that great run in my head.
Still I didn’t start to like running until I finished my half-marathon. There was something so empowering about being able to run 13.1 miles on a ridiculously little amount of sleep that made me think I could do anything.
Now running gives me time to think, time to plan and dream. It was while running that I decided to go back to school and change careers. There are days when I curse the run, but more often than not I love running and the feeling of accomplishment when I’m done. Now if I could just get someone else to do the laundry!
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