It is almost three weeks ago that I realized I was once again getting into that rut. Where you know you are getting out of shape. But you feel lethargic and absolutely not motivated to train or do anything about it.
Exercising when you don’t feel like exercising
Well, one advantage that I have is that I have been through this cycle many times! I always feel bad for people who have never been athletic or active in their lives: they think they are just not that type of person.
Sometimes I am not very athletic or active in my life either. However, I know (from experience) that those first few weeks of training or exercise or running – or whatever you are doing – is NEVER fun. It is always painful and tedious when you are out of shape (no matter what kind of person you believe yourself to be).
But once you are a few weeks into it, everything changes. As you get fitter, your exercise or training program becomes less tedious, less painful. In fact, after a few weeks, you start to actually enjoy it, even crave it!
A training goal keeps you moving
So how do you break out of that lethargic rut?
I do it by setting a goal. Most often, that is some race I aspire to complete. When Dave and I decided to do the Squamish 50k, back in 2014 (the year we got married – that race weekend actually ended up being our honeymoon!) that was a huge training motivation for me.
Last year, with COVID on-going, there were few or no races to enter (and I didn’t want to travel anyway), so I set a personal goal: to run the 47 km Juan de Fuca Trail, solo, in a day (which I did in September).
I knew I needed to set another goal.
That’s why, three weeks ago, I entered two trail running races – neither of them ultramarathon length, but still both challenging courses with lots of rough terrain. They are the Cobble Hill Race (May 14, 20 km, with 915 m vertical gain and loss) and the Mt Washington Race (August 13, 14 km, with 820 m vertical gain and loss).
And then – hold yourself accountable to those goals by telling lots of people! (That’s what I am doing with this blog). That way you can’t quietly change your mind and back out of it: you HAVE to do this race (or run or event or whatever), therefore you have to get off the couch and train for it.
I feel stronger!
And it works! I have struggled a bit with motivation these past three weeks. But I told y’all I am going to do it, and I am not going to embarass myself by backing out now.
What I have done so far to get back into shape (without pushing too hard and risking injury) is:
- muscle strengthening exercises like squats and yoga, focusing on quads and glutes
- jumping up on my box (especially helps the downhill running muscles)
- lots of fast hikes, gradually incorporating little bits of running
- core-strengthening exercises (core helps with everything!)
And I have also returned to some of my regular trail routes. I have a few running routes which I have been doing for years, and which I time – so I can track progress. I did one of those loops yesterday, and set a really good time on it, hardly walked at all! So I am already registering improvements (which, in itself, is motivating).
Last night, I slept the best I have slept in months – and I feel great today. I feel stronger already!
The Keep it Moving Project is aimed at sharing my motivation for staying fit and active and healthy through all stages of my life. Follow this blog or sign up with me directly for updates on my Contact page. I promise I will never spam you or share your info!