We bought this very nice & VERY expensive treadmill 12 years ago so I could walk/run on it when my then-baby son was napping. After I got back into running, I used it during the winter months, but about 4+ years ago my running friends and I decided to try to brave the elements. Since then, we’ve run outside all year.
Now the treadmill is a source of anxiety for me. I cannot make myself run on it. I could wear shorts and watch a movie while I run, but no, I'd rather bundle up like a puff-a-lump and run outside in -3 degree weather.
Reading about resolutions, I think about that treadmill. I know I won't run on it, so now I don't even consider it. I put things in place so I succeed at working out instead of thinking about it all day and not doing it. I don't make fitness resolutions. Every day is New Year's Day for me; every day is a fresh beginning and a new start.
I thought I would share some of the habits, in no particular order, that I use to help make fitness part of my life.
1. Find the time of day your body responds best to working out. Unless I have a client, I don't prefer to run in the late afternoon/evening. I know I'm best in the morning and will keep delaying a workout, so I get out of bed and do my run as early as I need to to ensure I get that workout in.
2. Baby Steps. So often when Jan 1st comes around, it's BIG goals people set: losing 25+ pounds, running a marathon. A few months into the year motivation lags and these goals are forgotten. Honestly, my success has come from those smaller, obtainable goals, and being consistent. The race isn't the goal, it's all the runs I did beforehand that were.
3. Food journal. I've kept a simple food log on and off for years. When I stop writing in it, my weight goes up. Simple as that. Let me say it again - even with all the running (1100+ miles this year) and strength training I do... when I don't log my food/calories intake, I gain weight. This fall I started using myfitnesspal.com and I like it very much. Not only do I track calories, but also my workouts. It makes me think about what I'm putting into my body and the choice of food I'm making rather than eating mindlessly. If the only good it does is help me NOT eat the chocolate chip cookies because I'll have to log it, it's totally worth it.
4. Change the things you can, stop worrying over what you can't. I am only 5' tall and I'm getting older, my butt will never be tiny, and my thighs will always touch. There's not much I can do about those things, so I focus on the things I can change. I can get faster, I can get stronger, I am physically capable to work out, so I will.
5. Put workout clothes on right away. Because I usually run in the morning I put my running clothes on first thing. They STINK all the time because I wear them so much. They aren't comfy to wear and they smell, so having them on reminds me that I need to get out the door and get that workout done.
6. Enlist friends. When I started Method 360, I brought a friend with me to the first class because I was nervous about going alone. Now I've made new friends there and a larger supportive community, so I'm not nervous anymore. My running friends and I have a network to motivate each other to run in the cold/rain/snow. We don't necessarily like running in those conditions, but having someone help you get out the door, and also not wanting to disappoint a friend, can be a great motivator.
7. Drop the excuses. I'm too tired. I can't get up that early. I don't have the time. It will be too hard. "I feel terrible after I work out," said no one ever.
8. Start over if need be, and be kind to yourself. I think people make too much out of their workouts sometimes. "I need to burn this many calories.” “I need to run 3.1 miles today or I've failed." Recently I haven't had the jump in my legs and feel like I'm dragging. It's okay; it doesn't mean I have to quit or beat myself up: I keep plugging away at it. Today's run was the perfect example. I didn't make it anything more than what it needed to be - getting my butt out the door. Was is my fastest or longest run? Nope. Was it life changing in any way? No, but it served its purpose and I'm glad I did it. If you skip a week or two or six, get up today and try again.
A neighbor, who also runs, told me that I was the most consistent runner he's ever known. I took it as a great compliment. He was acknowledging that for years he's seen me at numerous races, but also out running in snow and rain and bitter cold. Yes, I am an extremely willful person (no comments running friends!!) and when I set my mind to something I follow through. I also put those things listed above in place to help me be successful at being healthy.
What's one habit you can share or adopt for living a healthy lifestyle? We'd love to hear from you: share in the comments!
Kris Baker, aka Kris the Running Chick, is a local Syracuse running coach. She is not only a Method 360 client, she also coaches other clients in our Learn to Run!
Below is Kris & her husband Scott after running the Lake Placid 1/2, and shaving TWELVE minutes off her PR!