I have to say, all of my running training really paid off in the end! I had signed up to run a 1/2 marathon this past weekend; the first ever for me! I’ve completed both a 5k and a 10k but was hesitant to try the 1/2 marathon. I have never been much of a “runner” and really don’t like to run, in general!
It all started in July of this year. I downloaded an app to my iphone and began to follow the daily running plans. It consisted of 20-30 minute runs in the first few weeks; adding in a longer run once each week. I noticed my time per mile would decrease; which is what my intentions were! I have always been a “10 minute mile” person. My goal was to finish the 1/2 marathon in under 2 hours; this meant I had to cut my time per mile down by almost a full minute! Not an easy task, if you have always despised running!
Regardless of my negativity to running; I continued to follow the daily plans. I never skipped a day; this was a goal I wouldn’t let beat me. Slowly, over time, I began to see that my time per mile was decreasing. Instead of the 10 minute or just under miles, I was now hitting 9:40-9:30 mile average! How exhilerating!! I wasn’t even feeling that bad, either!
What have you done recently to push yourself out of your comfort zones? We all are guilty of staying in these “ruts” of doing the same things over and over again. The problem is, we get bored and our bodies become “bored” or more efficient at the tasks. By becoming more efficient, you stop having as many results. You then may notice that you aren’t losing as much as before or even gaining a little. You then may grumble that it just “doesn’t work” to workout regularly. What’s the point of “busting your butt” when you don’t see the results anymore? So, you stop altogether. Does this pattern sound familiar? It doesn’t have to be like this!
Find something you absolutely love to do. There are so many options these days, it’s really pointless to say that you can’t find anything you like to do! There’s dancing classes, strength classes, running or walking groups, video programs (P90X, anyone?), swim classes, walking your dog, etc. Once you narrow down the type of activity that you enjoy, schedule it into your weekly routine at least 3-5 days for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour. The goal is to feel like you are working at a level 5-8 on a scale of 1-10 of exertion. It shouldn’t be “easy”. You won’t get anywhere staying in this zone. I say, get it done quickly by ramping up your intensity for most of the workout! Who has the time to waste these days, anyway? After completing this type of program for about a month, change it up altogether. You can choose another activity or just add more intensity to what you are already doing. For example, if you choose to walk and are walking fast enough to exert your intensity to a “7” for a month then notice you feel stronger and it isn’t as hard anymore. What do you do? How about adding in some hills? How about speed plays? You can walk/jog for about a minute and then slow down for a minute and repeat for the alloted time.
There are many options. Just don’t give up altogether. I continued with my training and before I knew it, the race was here. I planned out to stop for water at each of the water stations and at about 3 of the stations, I also drank some Powerade. At the hour mark, I noticed my body started to fatigue. I was carrying a packet of “Gu” for this reason and gulped it down while maintaining my run pace. This really helped my energy continue! I was caught up in the people cheering us on at the sidelines. I felt a comraderie with my fellow runners and the thrill of running on the field at Angels Stadium was the ultimate high.
The most important thing I learned was that no matter how negative I feel about a certain task, event or even person, once I learn more about it/them, I don’t fear it as much! Step out of your comfort zones! Have some fun in your life! Excitement breeds more fun! I’ve now decided to follow through and run the full marathon next year. This is something I thought never would happen for me.
You can do something today! What seems to be holding you back? What are some things that bring you fear or discomfort? Fight back; learn more about it and try to experience it in some small way. Who knows; one day, you too will be feeling the same exhileration to continue on in spite of your fears! Celebrate your accomplishments and don’t ever stop “trying”!