Posts Tagged ‘running’
by Sara Jelley, Fort Collins Personal Trainer
You can’t run a marathon by running 15 minutes a day, 3 days a week. Well, maybe someone out there can. Nobody I know.
The best thing we can teach ourselves as athletes (and yes, you are an athlete, even if you don’t feel like it yet) is to listen to our bodies. Train when your body can handle it and rest when it needs to rest. The ‘step by step’ method works not only for putting together a model airplane, but also for getting your body in shape. Your body doesn’t change easily, as evidenced by so many people in this country who change their diets but don’t lose weight because they don’t exercise, OR those other people who exercise like maniacs but don’t change their diets. Its not an easy transition. However, as long as your heart is in the right place and your plan is a smart one, things will change.
So take it easy. If you’re just starting out, don’t run for 15 minutes one day and the next day take it up to 45. Even if you’re a highly trained athlete, you can’t take large leaps in your training. Your body will freak out. Believe me. Training for an endurance race in less than 3 months will challenge anybody’s patience. However, if you do too much too soon, your risk for injury skyrockets.
Adding on 5-10 minutes to your workout every week is the most efficient way to train your muscles and your mind. After 15 minute runs one week, your body will probably be ok with 20-25 minute runs the next week. Then you can take it up to 25-30. Pretty soon, in two months, you’re running for an hour! And you thought that 10k was impossible!
Today I had my clients doing pushups. Now, I hate pushups just as much as the next girl. I always do them on my knees and always feel weak. But by using the pyramid method I use for cardio and endurance in the pool and applying it to strength training we were all able to do more than we thought we could. Traditionally pyramid strength training in the weight room would mean increasing the weight every set, while decreasing the reps. But because we were doing bodyweight exercises with an endurance goal, I opted to start with lower reps and get higher. We started with 1 pushup. Then 1 minute rest. Then 2 pushups. Then 1 minute rest. All the way up to 10. After doing the math, we realized we had just done 55 pushups! At the beginning was only “Oh man, pushups. I hate pushups. I feel so weak.” At the end, the conclusion was: “I’ve never done this many pushups in my life! I CAN do pushups!”
I could say a lot of things to myself before I work out, like “I can’t”, “I’m tired”, “I’m weak”, or “I don’t have time”.
I could tell myself I’m not worth the 30 minute workout every day.
I could tell myself its too hard and only people with a certain body type should be running marathons and doing pushups.
But I would be lying to myself.
Listen to your body, not your mind. Because your mind says some pretty messed up stuff a lot of the time.
Also, listen to the wise words of The Eagles. Please, please, please! Because your trainer says so. Take it Easy.
Remember “The One that Got Away”?
Was it unrequited love?
Was it someone else’s crush, unrealized by you?
Was it young love? Puppy love? Was it an actual puppy you couldn’t take home?
Was it a dream or a fantasy you never got to play out?
A goal, a race, a yoga pose?
Tell me about it, stud.
I have more fantasies than the average human. I daydream constantly, and I mean like every 5 minutes I’m building up a scenario in my mind. About marrying that really nice produce clerk at the grocery store. About owning my own hot spring hotel in Japan one day. About becoming a doctor or hot air balloonist or a magician. Or even just a faster swimmer. Better cook. Better writer. Guitar goddess. Having 6-pack abs. Climbing Mount Everest. Bike-camping from Colorado to Panama.
I sometimes tell myself that the problem with having all these dreams is that I’ve chased a lot of different paths, tried a lot of different things but I’m still not really good at any of them. I’m simply mediocre at a whole lot of things. This is not a good feeling. “Mediocre” is not a happy word.
My recent journey, including break-ups, career changes and let-downs, has been that of serious self-confidence work. Becoming a personal trainer, you have to know what your client is going through to really break through when they say they can’t lose the weight, run the mile, lift the weight. Whatever goal they had that was the “One that Got Away’. I do know. I’ve been there. It sucks. But in a week or two, I promise, it won’t matter.
The way to the end of the yellow brick road is not only working hard at that one activity. Sure, running a long distances every day will help you finish a marathon. But it might not. There are always other things than training involved in success. There is a point for distance athletes called “The Wall”. You hit that wall, you ain’t finishing the race. At least quickly. You run out of fuel and your body says “Hello? Can’t you see there’s a wall here? I got nothing. You’re on your own.”
It’s the same thing with your mind. The wall gets another brick every time you say “I can’t”, “I’m not that good”, “I’m just mediocre”, “This’ll just be another thing I can’t do well”. You know the thing about excuses? They condone failure, and by doing so lead to certain failure. Once you hit the wall mentally, you’ve convinced yourself of your own mediocrity and there is very little chance of success. You’re probably always thinking about the “One that Got Away”, whether it got away a long time ago or you’re on the verge of letting it get away right now. Here are some ways to get back your soul and reach your goal. Have you said something like this?
“Wow, that run was hard today. I must be getting worse.”
Step 1: Stop everything. Tell yourself “That’s a damn lie!” Go all Pink Floyd on it and “Tear down the wall!” You just had a long run yesterday and you’re fatigued. You were gardening this morning and your quads are reminding you. You have two kids and you were playing with them in the park yesterday. These are simply some reasons that your run may have been harder today. However: these are NOT excuses not to run. These are what you remind yourself of when you’re sore from the extra hard workout.
These are what you reward yourself for.It doesn’t mean you’re getting worse. When you get worse, you probably haven’t been running. If you need help starting back up, that’s when you ask for help! I’d suggest you talk to a trainer, a life coach or your dad. I’m learning that asking for help is one of the most valuable things you can ever do for yourself.
Step 2: Celebrate your successes. If you made it through that swim practice you wanted to get through without drowning or if you touched your toes for the first time in months, celebration is the key to happiness. Happiness won’t come at the finish line of that race and it won’t come when the scale says that magic number you’ve been dreaming of. It just won’t. Not until you’re happy with the little successes along the way.
If you celebrate touching your toes now, putting your palms on the floor will seem like you’ve died and gone to heaven. But if you think “Sure, I can touch my toes but I still have 20 pounds to lose”, that magic number will get further and further away and it won’t be as fulfilling. You’ll already be thinking about the next goal, the one you still haven’t reached. Celebrate small successes will pre-empt that mental “wall” and make your whole journey easier, however long.
Celebrate with something wonderful, but not with a cake. Give your body the relaxation it craves. Do something or go somewhere that makes you feel happy and at peace.
Step 3: Pick a new goal. Find a new “One”. As in love, people are not meant always meant to stay together forever. Having a goal is great but if it is unattainable or if chasing it is making you frustrated and miserable, get someone to play the best friend role and say “Maybe its time to move on.” Maybe you weren’t meant to climb Mt. Everest. Maybe you should take up piloting and fly over it instead.
Follow your heart and lift yourself up to a place where you can succeed. The forces of the universe will tell you when you’re on the wrong path or chasing after someone or something that is not coming back to you. There will always be the “One that Got Away”. Your job is to accept that and find happiness on your current path.
You are SO much more than mediocre.