Observe and Learn from your Behavior

This morning, I went on a great run. The weather was PERFECT: started out chilly, but within a half mile, the sun and my heart warmed up my body.  So nice.

I ran a mile and a half .. maybe 3/4 before I had to stop to tighten my laces that were about to come undone.  Ugh. I really didn't want to stop; I want to run 3 miles without breaks, but I saw I had no choice. I knelt down to re-tie quickly and get back up.  Back to the run.  About a quarter mile later, I allowed myself to take a short recovery walk, for somewhere between 30 and 60 seconds.  Would I have done this if I hadn't already broken my running streak?  Probably not.  But knowing that my goal would not be met today gave me a sense of permission to slow down for a moment.  Then I picked up and kept moving, kept running.  When I caught up to my walking-buddy, also doing laps, I slowed to walk with her for another 30- or 60-second break (I swear I have no sense of time when I'm working out).  At last, I picked up and ran the last lap and a half to complete the equivalent of 3.1 miles--a 5k.  Even with the walking breaks, I did it in just under 30 minutes (great) but not at a constant run (less great--not my goal).

The lesson?  The moment my feet stopped moving gave me the "okay" to cave in the next time I felt tired/bored/whatever it is that makes me stop to walk.  I learned, by reflecting on my behavior, that I need to prepare myself beforehand (aka make sure my laces are tightly tied--and doubled!, that my iPod is secure and loaded, that I'm appropriately dressed for the weather), so that NOTHING grants me "permission" to stop.  When I walk, it will be because my body needs to, rather than because my mind suddenly decided that it's alright.

This is fine.  I am now aware of my mind's power, and I'll take measures to work with it, rather than against it.  I'll keep pushing myself to go as long as I can.  In my heart of hearts, I believe I am already physically capable of doing the 5k without a break; I just have to get my head to cooperate.  What I learned about myself today will get me one step closer to that goal. 


Take a moment after each workout to reflect on your behavior: where you went right, where you went wrong.  What motivates these decisions?  The same could apply to your eating choices, the way you spend your free time... any aspect of your life that could use improving.  Take a few moments to reflect, assess, and move forward in a positive way.


And now, a much deserved pumpkin smoothie.

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