About a month ago, I ran my first 10 mile race (if you missed that post, click HERE!). And then…I stopped running. For the first week, it was intentional. I needed a break so my body could heal from whatever hip/groin thing was going on. And then on week two, I ran three miles at the beginning of the week and figured I was back on track. But B had a rough week and didn’t feel well for the whole week, so I never went running again. I just didn’t feel right about leaving him with the kids when he was half dead. When he got better, I started week three with another three mile run and assumed I was back in the groove. But then Hurricane Florence starting heading our way, and the early part of the week was rainy, and the latter part was plain unsafe for running. We didn’t get any actual hurricane action, but branches and trees did fall, power went out in areas around us, and I sure didn’t want to be out in those wind gusts we were getting.
My half marathon training was totally derailed.
But last week, life started calming down, and I started running again. On Tuesday, I ran 3 miles. On Thursday, I ran 4. And on Saturday, I did 5. Five wasn’t pretty, but I did it without walking.
Here’s the thing. Too many times in my life, I’ve let “falling off the wagon” give me permission to never get back on. Healthy eating, working out, reading the Bible, whatever it is…there have been a lot of instances where messing up once equated to just stopping all together. And I don’t think I’m the only one this happens to.
Because it’s happened to me many times, in many different areas, I realized: Getting back on track is 100% mental. When we have setbacks in meeting our goals, its 100% OUR choice how we handle it. We can choose to say “I messed up, and that means it’s all over” OR we can say “it’s true I had a setback. But I refuse to let one day, one month, one instance, define me. I’m getting back up, and trying again.”
In order to do that, we have to be kind to ourselves. We have to have an inner dialogue that, instead of attacking, responds with understanding and grace. My inner dialogue could have easily told me that I am lazy, that I failed, that there are no excuses for missing THREE WEEKS of running. But instead, I focused on the truth that the first week my body needed rest. I also reminded myself that even though I’m training for a big run, sometimes other things MUST take precedence. Because I didn’t beat myself up, I remained motivated to start running again as soon as possible instead of using those 3 weeks as proof that I’d never be able to run 13.1 miles by November.
I also find that telling my husband my goals and schedule is a great way for me to get back into running. If I keep my plans to myself, I’m the only one who knows when I’m breaking them. But if I wake up in the morning and just tell B that I will be going running that night, then I’m way more likely to go on that run when 6:30 PM arrives. So the whole week of the hurricane activity, I made sure to tell both him and me that I’d be resuming running as soon as the weather cleared. And because he knew the plan, it was easier for me to follow through on it.
I have another recommendation on how to get back into a fitness routine, but it’s a bit silly. I’ll say it anyway: if you can, buy new workout clothes! I don’t go crazy by any means, but I definitely feel motivated to start again with just one cute new tank top or a fun sports bra. One new thing can really make a difference! The clothes also just makes me feel legit. Of course I COULD run in any old t-shirt I have around…but if I want to feel like a half-marathon runner, looking the part doesn’t hurt! ☺
If you have found yourself in a fitness rut, I’d like to just take a moment to encourage you. I’ve talked about this before, but I’m saying it again. I spent 5 years in a rut, and now I’ll be running my first half marathon only 6 months after I started running. If you are telling yourself you are too out of shape, too old, too many kids later, too chubby, too whatever, tell yourself to hush! Those things you are telling yourself aren’t even true. You are not too anything to resume (or start) exercising.
In fact, Brandon came to me last week and said, “Meg…don’t faint, but…I’m going on a run tonight!” And you guys…this dude who had knee surgery and has cement in his leg and huge screw things, and never, ever runs? He ran a mile. And then two days later, he did it again. And again. His knee actually isn’t “too weak” like he’s thought for years. He finally stopped thinking about why he couldn’t run, so he could go see what he could do. Now he’s ordered himself an armband and headphones so he can continue running! WHAT?!?!
So my advice? Find something you love and go do that! Whether it’s running, group fitness, yoga, stroller walks with your friend, there’s something you can do. And you’ll feel sooooo good once you’ve done it. You’ll be so proud. So today, get back on the wagon. You’ve got this!!!
What’s your favorite type of exercise? What helps you restart your fitness program if you’ve taken a bit too much time off? I’d love to hear what works for you—I’ve gotta run 13.1 miles in a month!!!