Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mind Games

I'm not averse to the cold temps or even the piles of snow we've had in Minnesota since early December, but lately I'm running low on the mental juice required to get suited up and out the door for my daily run. And other than draining my body of essential vitamin D, I've found hitting the treadmill an attractive alternative. It's not the warmth of an indoor run that keeps me going, though, it's the mind games I play while cruising along on Old Reliable.

I do it outdoors, too, it's just not as precise. Doesn't keep me quite as accountable. Since we can all use a little help at some point, I thought I'd share some of the mental tricks I use to keep me going when workouts are more difficult mentally than they are physically.

Increase the speed and/or incline every half mile until I hit the mid-point of my run. Then I go through the same profile on the way back down. Yesterday's run went something like this:
  • One mile warm up at 9 min pace, 0% incline
  • .5 mile at 8.5 min pace, 0% incline
  • .5 mile at 8.5 min pace, .5% incline
  • .5 mile at 8 min pace, .5% incline
  • 1 mile at 8 min pace 1% incline
  • .5 mile at 8 min pace, .5% incline
  • .5 mile at 8.5 min pace, .5% incline
  • .5 mile at 8.5 min pace, 0% incline
  • One mile cool down at 9 min pace, 0% incline 

Thought Chunking
This one works well in the pool where I dedicate each lap or length to a year of school, a year of my life, a year of my children's lives, a year of marriage, etc. Sometimes I'll thought chunk a run and give myself 10 or 15 minutes to think about the different projects or problems I'm working on. Makes good use of the countdown timer on my sports watch.

Musical Movement
Listening to music doesn't just motivate me to work harder, it's also a good way to break up my workouts into bearable increments when my head is less than clear. A well planned playlist helps me look forward to "what's next" and keeps me moving so I can hear my all time favs positioned strategically at the end of my workout.

If you have any good strategies that keep you moving, post them here. I think we can all use a few more ideas in our fitness arsenal!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mommy Meltdown

Had me a good old fashioned meltdown last night. Felt pretty good. There something about a good cry that exhausts me almost like a workout; leaves me ready to exhale and start over again. Almost creates some sort of newness for me. Truth be told, however, I prefer achieving that state of wonder through sweaty means instead of tearful ones, but sometimes you take what you can get.
When you can't work in a workout, is there anything else that gives you a hint of that sweaty exhaustion? Anything that helps you start over and begin again?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Lessons Learned in 2010

The year is fresh and hopeful. I'm still busy drafting my official resolutions, but first things first... here's my list of lessons learned in 2010, in no particular order...

1. I've learned from experience that you don't have to travel to the other side of the world to find yourself. If you can't find you at home, you're likely chasing an impostor.

2. Taking a sabbatical from your life as a mom isn't selfish, and it certainly isn't easy. Making the effort for an hour, week, or (gasp!) month away will teach your children the importance of self-care and help them deepen relationships with other caregivers.

3.  Never assume to know what anyone else is thinking. If you're not sure, ask. Then repeat what they said back to make sure you got it right.

4.  Enjoy the present moment. Don't spend too much time mulling over the past or fretting the future. When you need to feel connected or centered, just stop and listen to your breath.

5.  Personal trainers aren't just for the rich and unmotivated. Hearing an encouraging voice directed solely at you, pushing you on, is akin to good psychotherapy.

6.  Change isn't so bad...  but regret is. You can spend years contemplating change and learn nothing. Give it a try and you'll either recommit to what you had or enjoy the fruits of change.

7.  People can and will say and do things that surprise you for the better. Take time to listen to what other people have to say--especially those the closest to you. Sometimes we don't listen to the voices we hear most often.

8.  People can and will say and do things that surprise you for the worse. Listen to what others have to say, but be careful not to turn your disappointment in others back on yourself.

9.  Usually when people surprise you it's about them, not you. Everyone has baggage that they have no choice but to carry. When someone does or says something that seems out of left field or offensive, remember you can never know exactly what it's like to be them.

10.  When pursuing a dream, never give up. Period.