Five For Friday: What I Do to Get Moving

22 Nov

Okay, so here’s something to ponder: why oh why does doing good for our bodies so often require fighting against every instinct we have?  The obvious answer is that our instincts have been totally effed by modernity’s conveniences and vices, but, logic aside, I sense a flaw in design. I mean, really– no one ever gets tendinitis from eating a cupcake, but there’s a whole host of ailments named after their corresponding physical activity: tennis elbow, runner’s knee, jumper’s knee, etc.  I’d like to put a note in Evolution’s comment box to suggest that the healthy choice and the path of least resistance ought to intersect somewhere. But, while I’m on hold waiting to speak to the supervisor about that one, it looks like we’re  just gonna have to find things to motivate our own damn selves.

So what do I do to unglue myself from the couch and get moving? Here are five tricks I use on days when I’d rather eat a steak dinner with Dick Cheney than go running:

1- Use your unhealthy amount of screen time to do something good for you. When I feel like skipping a run, a quick click through a fellow runner’s blog can be the kick in the pants I need to get out there. Mary was there as my running coach when I ran my first-ever 5.5 miler and is now an official speed demon, Courtney gives practical and real advice about races, training, and DC running, and my friend Krisha posts on Facebook about 10 times a day about how her pre-schooler can run a 5k. It’s not about competition, it’s about solidarity–if these awesome ladies who are all as busy/tired/whatever as I am can get out there, I sho’nough can too!

morgan freeman2- Watch your language. I have found AMAZING success using the methods of this (very, very small) study: 30 women were asked to make a health/wellness goal and take action toward it for ten days. Group 1 was given no tips/tricks for meeting their goal and the only guidance they got was to “just say no” to things that were counterproductive to their goal. Group 2 was told to use the word “can’t,” as in, “I can’t miss my workout today.” Group 3 was given coaching to use “don’t” (eg: “I don’t miss workouts.”). After ten days, Lifehacker says:

  • Group 1 (the “just say no” group) had 3 out of 10 members who persisted with their goals for the entire 10 days.
  • Group 2 (the “can’t” group) had 1 out of 10 members who persisted with her goal for the entire 10 days.
  • Group 3 (the “don’t” group) had an incredible 8 out of 10 members who persisted with their goals for the entire 10 days.

It’s worth clicking above to read the whole thing- but the short story is that by saying things like, “I don’t miss long runs” instead of, “Come on Chef Kef… can’t miss this run” has really helped me stick to my workout guns.

3- Buy inspirational workout gear. I know, I know- this is not my favorite tool in the arsenal, but when all else fails, a snazzy new pair of running tights is bound to get me hitting the pavement. Even if it is 35 degrees and I can’t be sure that they were not made in a sweatshop somewhere. Clearly, I have some evolving to do myself. I currently have my eye on these guys, but luckily for me I am more or less sticking to my fitness (and financial) goals lately.

4- Train for something. The most dedicated I’ve ever been to running is when I’ve had a training plan to stick to. As we’re moving into winter (read: as I just want to sit on the couch watching the SVU Marathon that was on last Sunday and that will be on again next Sunday), I’m toying with some spring races as bait to keep me going. So far the Parkway Classic 10M, Rock ‘N’ Roll Half, Prospect Park Duathlon and Capitol Hill Classic are on my list of possibilities. And that should keep me busy right through the spring thaw.

5- Stick with the rule of 7.5. I read somewhere (probably Self magazine circa 1999) that your body needs 7.5 minutes to really tell you how it feels about physical activity. So when I reallllllly don’t feel like working out, I tell myself I only have to do it for 7 minutes and 30 seconds. If I still feel like crap, I can quit (on these days, its amazing how fast I can sprint back to the couch when I could barely even get over 6 MPH on a treadmill)– but more often than not I realize that I very, very rarely regret a workout and just keep going. Isn’t always a workout to remember, but at least I got it in.

What do you do to keep up your motivation?

6 Responses to “Five For Friday: What I Do to Get Moving”

  1. Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC November 22, 2013 at 9:30 am #

    Thanks for linking up and for the shout out! Love that study about the importance of language — so true! And DEF run the Cap Hill Classic. I run it every year and it’s a fun, flat race!

  2. Eat Pray Run, DC November 22, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    Thanks for the shout out and love that story about the importance of language! Def do the Cap Hill Classic — I’ve run it the past 3 years and it’s one of my favorite races. Inexpensive, lowkey, for a great cause and a flat course! 🙂

    • cookingupkefi November 22, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

      Agreed on CHC- it was my first race over 5K and I can’t think of a better intro to road racing. I love the number of families out there with cute signs. Although I will take issue with your description of “flat”– that hill going up Independence is a doosy there at the end! 🙂 Maybe I’ll see you there this year!

  3. Mar on the Run! November 22, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    Ha! good tips!! I especially appreciate the 7.5 rule. I try that often and do end up going more than I thought I wanted to.

    • cookingupkefi November 22, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

      Thanks Mar! Once those juice get flowing, there’s no stopping us!

  4. mary @ minutespermile November 27, 2013 at 6:21 am #

    I love this! 🙂

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