I love to exercise. Exercise leaves me feeling energised, strong and happy. Over the past few years, exercise has been a consistent part of my daily routine (this hasn’t always been the case – see my story).
Yesterday was different! I was full of reasons why I couldn’t do a run that I had committed to and it was an epic mental battle! In the end I did the run and felt great afterwards. I put on my shoes and showed up!
Sometimes it feels like the hardest part of doing something is making it to the start line. However, this part is normally within our control. Yesterday i wasted a lot of mental energy worrying about what would happen after the start line when all I actually needed to do was show up and start…
The idea: participate in a 10km Run
You know when something seems like a good idea at the time? And then that times comes…and you’re like…why did i sign up for this? That was me yesterday. Thinking (or agonising) all day long about a 10km run. Yep, a harmless 10km FUN run.
I had decided last week that i was going to do the YMCA 10km Summer Series…or at least do the first run. Although this run was sooner than I would have preferred and the day after returning from overseas it seemed like a good idea for a few reasons:
- Go for a nice (casual) run in the park on a Summer’s evening. One of my favourite things to do.
- Support and chat to my inspiring gym friend Anita Kundu
- Establish a 10km “baseline”. I haven’t done a 10km run race in ages so it will be good to see where I am at (I don’t think I have even run 10km in the last 3 months aside from one day when I accidentally got lost and had no choice). In 2019 I would like to run a sub – 40 minute 10km 🙂
- A great way to get right back into things (why delay when I can start now!)
Good reasons. All I needed to do was show up and run (or even walk) and have a good time.
The context: holiday mode
I have just had an amazing three week holiday (lots of relaxing, beach time and wonderful food), which was preceded by three weeks of “winding down…just make it through each day mode” which was preceded by three weeks of “2018 has been awesome but I’m physically and mentally tired and ready for a break mode”.
Well i’m back. Refreshed. And super excited for 2019 (watch this space).
That being said, I had just arrived home. I’m was (and still am) totally out of routine, jet lagged, feeling lethargic and part of my brain is still somewhere on a beach in Thailand. Yep the post-holiday struggle was real! I made it through an easy ‘welcome back’ gym session yesterday morning and a day of work but the looming 10km run fought with me all day.
The battle: I really can’t run 10km tonight…
The battle that raged in my head yesterday was epic. The excuses were endless. I have not experienced this degree of “mental drama” in relation to exercise for quite some time. In fairness to myself, i was feeling very physically “average”. However, I was also pretty sure a lot of what I was feeling was a product of my lovely imagination 🙂
All day long “reasons” why I couldn’t run went through my mind. I’m normally good at working through these moments and getting myself into the right mindset. I often quickly re-frame such thoughts or better yet, just let them be. Yep…notice them, observe them, but don’t let them take on meaning. I wouldn’t normally spend so much mental energy on this.
So in no particular order here are some of the “reasons” that played out in my head and the conversations I had with myself all day. Does anyone else have these conversations? Not sure if this is silly or potentially embarrassing but here you go:
|Given I am in holiday mode and feeling average this wouldn’t be an accurate baseline
I won’t get a good time
|Um who cares? This is not the Olympic qualifying trials. It’s not a business or science project. Stop being complicated Jade. Just show up.
So what? You need to start somewhere.
|I don’t feel well
I’m jet lagged
I’m too bloated and ‘heavy’ today
|Show up. You don’t feel awesome but you’re definitely OK and fine to run.
If you start to run and don’t feel well you can walk or pull out. You can still watch Anita.
You will probably feel better after running.
|I’m not “10km running fit”||According to who? So what? Last week, you easily ran a hilly 7km in Thailand. Pre-holiday you were getting in a couple of cardio sessions in each week on top of strength training. Your underlying fitness is good.|
|I have lots of work to catch up on, the time would be better spent doing that||Oh that old excuse. Stop this nonsense now.|
|Running 10km today will compromise my ability to lift heavier weights tomorrow. I’m keen to get back into gym ASAP.||Yep. But you’ve already decided that you want to take a few months to focus on getting faster (for something different / fun to do) and the training specificity to do that will likely compromise your strength gains for a period of time. You were cool with that last week. Plus you’ve already committed to taking things easy at the gym over the next few weeks. Just do it!|
The outcome: I ran 10km and it felt great afterwards!
So I managed to get myself out the house and to my car. Once in my car I realised I hadn’t charged my running watch (which shows running pace, distance etc). Another reason not to run! I then reasoned that I really didn’t need the watch. All I needed to do was get to the start line, start running, find a comfortable pace and then put one foot in front of the other (for 10km).
I used to make deals with myself when I was ‘lacking motivation’ or ‘making excuses’ not to exercise. All i had to do was walk outside for 10 minutes or go to the gym for 10 minutes. If I still didn’t feel like exercising once I had started then I could stop. Of course once I started, I felt good and would continue. It has been a very long time since I have had to make such a deal with myself but yesterday that was me – just make it to the start line Jade 🙂 🙂
I got in my car and left home. Once i left home I felt good. I was calm. The excuses stopped. I knew at this point that I was going to be running and that I would be just fine. The hard part was done (putting on my shoes and leaving the house).
And I was completely fine. I arrived with plenty of time and it was “a nice casual run in the park on a summer’s evening”. I stuck behind a couple people who were running a comfortable pace and knew where they were going (as the course was unmarked). I spent 10km’s being happy with myself for showing up and starting 🙂 OK so there were a few moments where I wished I was more “10km running fit” and felt more energetic but mostly it was an enjoyable run. I finished in 54.32, approximately 10 mins slower than my last 10km time but still a descent time. More importantly, I felt really good afterwards and was proud of me for showing up. I now have my ‘baseline’ for 2019 and look forward to improving on this over the Summer Series. I plan on showing up next week!
Jade Osborne | Lifestyle Coach