When you start a new fitness program or even just pick a goal and start training for it, life can get in the way. You’re a week or two into it, all enthusiastic and enjoying the groove, and then you hit some challenges:
- Back to School: Getting the family into the new routine can throw you off of yours.
- Work: You have a big new project (or three). You have a deadline (or several). You have to work late and are too tired the next morning to get up early to work out.
- Sick Kids: Need I say more?
- Tired (see “Sick Kids,” “Back to School,”, and “Work” above): You’re tired. That alarm goes off at 5 a.m. and you smack it off and dream of running a trail race….which you’re not exactly training for, since instead of running you’re sleeping late and dreaming about it.
- Novelty Wears Off: Zumba was so awesome! So much fun! Or you were really digging your C25K program and feeling accomplished. And then…well…the excitement wore off, and it started to feel like a chore.
- Injury: Muscles get strained. Ankles get sprained. Things hurt sometimes.
DO NOT GIVE UP. You have it in you. You really do. I’ve been running (and so much more) regularly since 2004, and I go through times where I’m thinking, “F*ck it. Why am I bothering? This just isn’t fun anymore.”
Obviously, I’ve learned to work through that. I am STILL learning to work through that, at least once a year but more like twice, when I go through some big crisis about WHY DO I RUN? WHY DOES IT MATTER? I DON’T WANT TO MOVE AT ALL! SELL MY BIKE, THROW OUT MY RUNNING SHOES, BLOCK MY RUNNING FRIENDS FROM EMAILING OR CALLING ME…I’M GOING TO BECOME SEDENTARY, SO THERE!!
Here are some things I’ve learned about how to get through those times when you think, “Why bother? It’s too hard and/or I just don’t have time!”
- Enlist a friend: Sounds corny and cliche, but for some people (ME!) it works. It’s much harder to skip a run when you know your friend is waiting at the corner to run with you. Or picking you up for your barre class. And for me it’s just more fun to run with someone else. I know some people prefer to run alone but not me. I’m a social runner. I can go for miles as long as I have someone to listen to or talk to.
- The “One Day at a Time” Approach: Just get through this week. Just three times this week (or twice, or four times—whatever). Make a weekly goal instead of a long-term goal, or break your long-term goal into weekly goals. In any case, take the A.A. approach: One day at a time. Just work out today. You don’t have to think about doing it tomorrow. Don’t worry about that. Just today.
- Visualization: How awesome did you feel after your first week of C25K? How happy were you during and after your Zumba class? How much did you laugh while doing boot camp with your friend? Close your eyes and think about how you felt at those times. Think about how you can feel that again….just work out again!
- Be Kind to Yourself. Sometimes, you really do need the extra sleep. Or to work the extra hours. Or to meet some other life commitment. Life happens. Sometimes you might need to miss a workout. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Just get out there tomorrow and do it!
- Think About Your Goal: Why did you choose it? How do you feel when you imagine yourself accomplishing that?
- Rewards: Buy yourself some new workout gear. Enjoy a treat. Get out with a friend for a special evening. Find some way to reward yourself if you need to.
- Rest: Sure, injuries need time to heal. But it doesn’t mean you need to stop moving! Try something else! Can’t run? Try spinning! Hurt your wrist and can’t do boot camp or lift weights? Great time to try Zumba! Broke several bones? Try tightening and relaxing major muscle groups! (OK, I’m kidding…sort of. I guess if you break several bones, you can take a little time off.)
My point is, you can do it. You really can. You’ve got this. I’m struggling, too. I had to revise my goal thanks to every single thing in the “challenges” list above.
We can do this!
Note: I’m participating in PlanetShoes’ “#Fit4Fall” campaign. I’m a “Sole Sister” with the campaign, in fact — a featured blogger. PlanetShoes was kind enough to send me a new pair of running shoes to, well, kick things off! I’ll be reviewing those soon. All opinions and running struggles are my own, and besides the new shoes, I am not being compensated for this campaign.