My job is to exercise. Which is pretty cool. But if I were to say I’m always excited to exercise, I would be lying. Some days, you just want to be lazy. Sleep in, drink coffee, read a book, walk the dog. And some days, this is precisely what the body needs. But in general, I find I’m always my ‘best self’ when I’m active. And often times, all it takes is 5 minutes to realize this.
I was going out for a run a few weeks back, in just the same mindset as I stated above; feeling sluggish and lacking motivation to get out the door. But I did, because I knew I needed to go for a run. The sun was out, it was a beautiful Colorado day, and I just started putting one foot in front of the other. I hadn’t been out more than a few minutes when I realized I was happy, relaxed and enjoying “movement.” I’d almost forgotten already how rotten I felt a few minutes prior. In just a few minutes, everything had changed. It’s incredible what exercise can do for mood state, attitude and outlook. We may feel strong or not so strong, but I’ve learned that despite often needing to track pace, power, effort and times, there is a lot to be gained in simply enjoying the process for what it is…the ability to move your body. While the repetitive nature of triathlon may get ‘boring’ at times, it can also be incredibly therapeutic and powerful. You begin a workout perhaps feeling annoyed by something in your life; maybe frustrated at how your body feels. But often times after a few minutes (or those of us crazy enough to do Ironman, a few hours) I find my mind has shifted. I sometimes train with music, so I may let myself enjoy the songs running through my head. I’ll often train solo, which allows me to contemplate things; or rather, shut my mind off and just see what wanders in and out.
Despite growing up a swimmer, the toughest activity to initiate can often be swimming. You’ve got to get yourself to the pool (not as easy as lacing up your running shoes), then the hardest part, jump into often cold water. But after a few lengths, you begin to find a rhythm, counting your laps; the body warms up, and away you go. As much as I love swimming and it is probably the one activity I always want to do more than others, I find there are days I have to drag myself to the pool.
But the one common theme about all the ‘movement based’ activities I do…swimming, cycling, running, strength in the gym…is I can honestly say, I don’t ever regret doing them when I’m finished. There are few things that feel better than a fatigued body from hard work. And of course, it’s no secret that my own personal favorite reward is that evening IPA while I’m making dinner; the day is done, the hard work has happened; maybe we nailed the session, maybe we were ‘off’…but what matters is we did it, and what is important is to appreciate your effort and move forward.
So when you find you’re struggling for motivation to get out the door, remember you're not alone. We all go through this at times. But just give yourself 5 minutes of exercise…and I’m willing to bet you won’t regret it an hour later when you’re cooling down.
- Kelly Williamson,