Thursday, December 08, 2011

Exercise - Some Thoughts

I was honored last weekend to be part of a group of runners who dedicated their time and effort to complete the Las Vegas half marathon with me. Many of these folks were running the longest they'd ever run before on that day and they all finished. One of the more common topics of conversation that I overheard afterwards was how being there to cheer on others had motivated them to either resume or begin training themselves. That's outstanding.

So, if I may be so bold, let me relay a few tips to those of you considering beginning a training program, be it running or simply a general fitness routine. Many people start them, and as we all know, not as many people continue with them.

Consistency - This is the absolute, number one thing to remember. Be consistent. Try your best to make working out not something you feel you have to do, but something you want to do. Make it a part of your lifestyle, just like having breakfast. Yes, it takes time and effort; but you don't have to workout every day. Start out slow and get used to the extra things you'll need to do to make working out easier, i.e. the extra laundry you'll need to do, the extra packing you'll need to do each morning before you go to work.

(Tip: If you work out after work, DO NOT go home first. If you think you'll head home after work and then go back out to the gym, you'll highly likely not make it. Go straight from work to the gym, and then go home.)

Plan is a plan - Find someone to help with your plan. A co-worker who works out, a trainer at the gym, hell, you can even email me if you want and I'll answer as best as I can. But remember this - it's just a "plan." You may have to deviate from it at times, so don't EVER get discouraged because you either missed a short-term workout goal, regressed in your training a step, or flat-out missed a work out. Make concessions in your plan so that you'll have a back up. Shorten your workout if you need to, a shorter one is better than none at all. Switch off-days if you need to. If you have to miss a workout, make it up on one of your rest days. Even if you flat out miss a week or longer due to travel, do NOT give up. Understand that it's a small step backwards, but you're still on a plan to move forward.

Coming Back from a break - To me, this is the NUMBER 1 cause for people to fall off the work out wagon. Look, you'll get sick. You'll have unexpected travel. You will miss a workout, even several, through no fault of your own. You need to find the mental discipline to resume your program after a break. It's very mentally discouraging to make good progress by being consistent for months at a time and then see it diminish because you're missing workouts. So what? Get back to the gym as soon as you can. It's difficult, I know. Just don't quit.

Enjoy - You should really at some point look forward to working out. It shouldn't suck. If it did, who would ever do it? Find something to make it fun. Honestly, healthy, physically fit people are fun to look at in tight clothing. I'm a male pig, and seeing a nice young woman in tight workout clothes is a motivator to me. I'm sorry. It's because I'm a pig. I understand that. If you're lucky enough to have a friend as a workout partner, that can make things enjoyable too. When GRob and Otis began doing long runs on Saturdays with me these past few months, it made a mundane run very much something to look forward to.

Compare you to you - Lastly, don't ever compare yourself to someone else. You're not them. You don't have their genetics, you don't respond to training like they do, you don't process foods the same way they do, you're not their age, you're simply not them. Everyone can find someone more fit than they are. I can find tons of guys stronger, faster (Dan), more lean, more proportional, more everything. Don't let that keep you from working out. Keep a log if you can, and in a year, compare yourself to what you were doing a year prior. You'll be amazed at YOUR progress. You get to keep it and nobody can take it away from you. Think about that.

If you decide to do something with respect to working out, start today. Don't wait for January 1st. Do it today. There's nothing stopping you. And if you choose to do something, consider how lucky you are to be able to. Dan's advice to us runners this year is the best advice I've ever had. "Consider how lucky we all are to be able to run today." There are millions of people who can't.


Grange95 said...

I've been running since high school, but gave up road races a few years back in favor of purely solo runs (well, not so solo now that my dog demands to run with me). I forgot about the sheer joy of running with friends, but had those memories jolted while hanging out at the finish line cheering on hundreds of total strangers and a few of you WPBT yahoos. If you decide to run Vegas again next winter, I'm in!

BTW, to novice runners, everything BadBlood wrote above is dead on balls accurate.

DrChako said...

And don't forget to consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

Ahhh... screw it. Go work out. Avoid doctors at all costs - especially at the poker table.

Heather said...

Unless, of course, they're fixing your back near the poker table and ordering you to drink alcohol! :)

Peter B said...

It's the remotivating after a break that is so so hard. But if I compare myself now to myself a year ago, and if I keep making appointments with my personal trainer that I feel obliged to keep, even if I don't want to, then I can get back to the "wanting to train" attitude again.

But Thursday still really hurt. :-) Great to see you in LV. Sorry that women and running stopped us from meeting up more.


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