I've spent many hours over the course of training on my bed, just staring up at the ceiling and willing, PLEASE, running clothes, switch with my street clothes. Please? Someone told me once that if I'm dreading a workout to at least commit to putting on the workout clothes and I'll most likely feel like I can get through it.
Yeah....I'm lazy. REALLY lazy. Just putting on my running clothes feels like a lot of work. I want to watch television, I don't neeeeed running clothes! Why put them on? I DON'T WANNA!
To be honest, I'm not sure I've ever met any person, ranging from beginner to race winners, who don't dread at least some of their workouts. I love running and I like I more as time goes by. I don't always feel like that right away though. I owe some of you my thoughts on this issue, so I thought I'd share here. If you have anything to add, please comment! All of these ideas have been passed down to me either by friends or from books/online:
- just commit to putting the appropriate attire on. This is usually enough to put you in the right mind set. Think about it. If you're coming home from work, you mind is (if at all mine) set at, "Shower! Wine! Television!!!" Or, if you are trying an early morning run, your mind may be more, "don't do it! Don't get out of bed. Nothing good can happen out there!" You put your clothes on and, viola! you're a runner now. No? Just try it. Word to the wise. DON'T sit down when you get home. Be robotic about it. Go right in, grab your stuff and change. The couch is the enemy. You will never get up.
- commit to just 10 minutes. Most people want to do more after that. If occasionally you don't? Maybe you need the rest that day. Only you know how much you have been doing. I prefer the first tip, just because it works better for me. I know that, first, I have to change, go down 3 flights of stairs and walk 3 blocks to start my run. Then second, once I've run 10 minutes away, it would be 20 total to loop around and go home. I may as well do my 30-40 minutes. I realize this right away, so it's hard to convince myself it's worth going downstairs at all. I don't even let my thinking get that far. I just put the clothes on and go. If I start thinking about it too much I literally start going, "la la laaaaaaa...I can't hear you!" in my head.
- I cannot remember who said this, (I think I read it on Runners World) but it helps put each workout in into perspective with the whole training plan: think of each workout as a deposit to the bank and on race day you get to withdraw. I try and remind myself of this during the run. To be honest, it didn't really help until I saw the benefits of my workouts pay off. It was after the first time I had a serious race plan, worked with my trainer that I finally felt prepared and had a great race. Don't wait until this happens to start thinking this way, but when you do have a great race that you worked hard for, you will really see all those individual workouts as a great cumulative reward.
- treat it like your job. You go to work, you buy groceries, you cook, you do your laundry. You do all sorts of monotonous things that you'd probably rather skip, but don't. Why is your workout any different? Make it a non negotiable.
That being said, am I perfect? Noooooo....Am I on week four of my half marathon plan (AHHHHHH!!! 1/3 of the way through!!!!!) and have managed to jack up my training Every. Single. Week? Yes. I've done all of the mileage, but I tend to skip my Tues run. It's so silly because it's an easy short run, but it's after my first 13 hour day of the week of standing at work all day and I just desperately want my couch. And, also? Excuses. Big fat excuses. By my next shift on Thursday I'm all over it and just block out ANY thought about my training. I know I will just go home, change and not allow a single conscious thought about the workout until I am at least half a mile from my apartment. That's what I did today. Tuesday I spent 15 minutes laying on my back on the bed while my brain went, "hhhhHHUHRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrr" and then gave up. You know what that means? Instead of just getting my butt kicked by my trainer in the morning, I get to do that and run 3.5 miles. She pointed out that my legs might feel like rubber since I keep on stacking my runs all at the end of the week and ran 18 miles in 60-ish hours. Ooops...that's more than my weekly mileage before I got serious this summer.
I guess what I'm saying is, for all of you new people, give the plan a chance to prove itself. You may be pleasantly surprised at how much it really pays off. I promise it will. My very first mile took 14+ minutes to run and I never thought I'd later run 3 miles in 30 minutes. I just kept on going out there. If your week doesn't go perfect, if you miss a day, move on. Guilt is too heavy a load to add to your run.