I began running more than six years ago. At the time, it was a stress reliever for me and the benefits surpassed my expectations. Life, in its funny and unpredictable way, often found ways to derail my running. I say that as though I had definitive plans for myself and part of the problem was that I did not, so I allowed life to interfere. I knew nothing about pacing or training… I just ran. I would run in the morning, as long or as far as I had time for. If I was feeling the need, I might go again in the evening. Other days I wouldn’t run at all, not in a “rest day” manner, but in an “I’m a little lazier than I’d like to admit to myself and I really haven’t made myself a priority” manner. I had no plan, no course of action, no aspirations, and honestly, no meaning for any of my workouts. I took almost two years completely off.
I began to take my running seriously about a year ago. Whether you are a competitive individual or not, I urge you to try and do the same with your workouts. It’s not about PR’s and medals, it’s about personal bests (PB’s). Although PB is a term that is common in the running world, I view it differently. A personal best is not your fastest non-record time. It is the run (or bike or fitness class) that you really gave it your all. Not in a red-faced, working-out-to-the-verge-of-vomiting way, but in a way that lets you leave a class or finish a run knowing that you never got complacent. It’s pushing through that one extra pushup, keeping that running pace 10 seconds faster than you’d really like to, biking that extra mile, completing that last stinkin’ burpee or even lacing up your shoes for the very first workout. That is a personal best… politely letting that little voice in the back of your head that tells you that you can’t do this because it hurts a little more than is comfortable speak and then telling it to get lost. You are bigger than that voice and you are stronger and more capable than you give yourself credit for.
This is where a plan becomes key. It can be your fallback when life (or that annoying little voice) interferes and attempts to sidetrack you. Studies repeatedly show the benefits of exercise. Mental, physical, emotional. Is there a study that says we shouldn’t be working out and we should enjoy that extra hour on the couch? I haven’t seen it yet. So why not create a plan for yourself? This is not a goal. It’s not about the end result, it is about the process. I think a week or two at a time is reasonable time frame to plan out your own process. Maybe it’s covering a certain amount of miles in a certain number workouts. Maybe it’s completing 10 pushups on Tuesday and 11 on Thursday. Maybe it’s keeping the resistance up for 30 seconds longer in Monday’s spin class and 35 seconds longer in Wednesday’s class. Whatever it is, planning for it and mentally internalizing and focusing on your own individual process is paramount.
We are all guilty of complacency. It’s an easy and comfortable place to be. But it’s not the place for personal success in any arena in our lives. Calvin Coolidge once said, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of uneducated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” These are the components to long term success in any exercise program. And a plan is the path to that success. It’s never for anyone but you, which is the most important thing to remember. This is for you. You want, need and deserve more! So sit down and plan out each of your workouts. What do you wish to accomplish this week? Stop being complacent and start being focused.
Fitmark Ambassador 2013