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Posts Tagged ‘motivation’

A Fragile Balance

March 17th, 2011 2 comments

A couple of weeks ago I rode my bike to work 4 days in a week. I ran 2 days that week too. Final tally: 125 miles self-powered in 5 days. I felt great, and happy to be getting back into shape, but then it all turned around.

I don’t know whether my exertion that week had anything to do with my getting sick, or whether it was inevitable with a co-worker spreading it wherever he went. Regardless, having avoided getting sick all winter suddenly it was my turn. My energy from the previous week turned full circle and suddenly just getting out of bed was a challenge. Feverish and weak I spent my days sleeping, my body needing every ounce of energy to fight off the invaders. Even after I recovered enough to make it back to work I was still faced with a problem: there was no way I had recovered enough to make the bike commute.

So for two weeks now, while this vile disease has run its course and relapsed and run its course again, I have been relegated to sitting on the bus. That has given me a lot of time to think about what I have lost, even if just for two weeks, and how much I take my health for granted. What do I lose if I get sick or injured? I lose my ability to get myself to work. I lose my mid-day escapes. I lose my time with my friends. I lose the ability to play with my kids. I can’t even be a loving husband to my wife. In that sense a sickness that strips me of my energy hits me at the very core of my being. I can’t even be me when I’m stuck lying on a couch.

While this time has been tough, it has made me thankful of what I do have when I am healthy. There are many people who live with crippling diseases that rob them of strength every single day. Their strength of spirit carries them through challenges that I can’t even fathom. And yet some days I don’t run because I don’t feel like it. Some days I don’t ride to work because it’s windy. These seem like cheap excuses when you take into account that I am lucky to be able to run or ride my bike at all.

The cliche is that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone, but it’s true. We don’t see the value of being able to lace up our shoes and run 5 miles until we can’t even walk around the block. I hope that you take a moment to realize what you would lose if sickness or injury took away your ability to move. Then get up get out there and get moving, because there are no excuses, only regrets!

When Do You Make the Call?

February 19th, 2011 No comments

I struggle with motivation to workout. I love doing it once I start doing it, but getting started is a whole other issue! That goes doubly if the weather sucks. I’ve listed the most useful tools in my arsenal for getting out the door in these situations.

The first involves having some level of┬ácommitment┬ábefore the workout is due to start. This could mean contacting a friend early to make sure you are on schedule for a workout. When I go for a run at lunchtime, I am much more likely to get out the door on time if I know I’m meeting someone out there (Thanks BFish!). Somedays that even means making the arrangements as soon as I get to work before I get swamped with the day’s activities.

When weather could be an issue, I always make sure I pack more than enough running gear so I can’t make excuses if the weather is worse than I think it will be. You can always leave gear behind that you don’t need, but not having something you do need is a deal-breaker. Occasionally I end up being overdressed for a run, just because being comfortable when I start is the only thing that gets me out the door. I can always shed layers mid-run if necessary.

If you can’t workout with someone else, accountability can be a good tool as well. Having a friend make sure you got your workout in, or encourage you, helps a lot. Sites like Dailymile.com can be great for having friends help with motivation, but anyone can keep you accountable, you just need to ask them!

A final tool that I use probably helps me most of all. I make an appointment with myself, either earlier in the day, or even the night before. I call this “making the call.” It is a point at which I tell myself, “it doesn’t matter what the circumstances are at this point in the day, I am going to workout!” The other day I made the call to ride my bike to work. I setup the coffee maker to brew an extra cup, which I don’t usually have time for if I’m taking the bus. I knew that whatever happened, I was committed to get on the bike to ride to work. When I woke up that morning the wind was howling outside, had I not made the call the night before I would have never chose to ride in those circumstances. It turned out I had a great ride, and even with leaving myself an out for the return trip, I still chose to ride home that night.

In the end what works to motivate you is personal. You need to find what works to get yourself out the door, whether it’s to the gym, or to a snowy cold ride. When do you make the call?

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