Choose Fitness for Fun

As much as I love goal-setting and weekly or monthly check-ins, this week, I dare you to put those measured focuses aside and simply choose fitness for fun

In January, motivated by my first 5k race and inspired by all the health benefits of running, I set a resolution to run 600 miles in 2012. Since then, I've been good and then not-so-good about keeping on pace to accomplish that goal, but running the necessary amount of miles has become a burden.  It made running work.  So, last week, I decided I would mentally put that resolution aside for the moment and go back to running for fun.  I'm still a new runner in my first year, so it would be very easy to go back to the days when I disliked running. To avoid that, I vowed to run when I felt up to it, when I wanted to, and NOT when I felt that I needed to just to log my miles for the week or month.

Soooo guess what happened?  Reminder: my weekly minimum goal is 11-12 miles to stay on pace for my resolution.  Looking back at February and March, I rarely reached that threshold.  But now, one week into April...


16 miles.  SIXTEEN MILES! 

And I don't even feel like I overworked myself!  I really just ran when I liked, hit the road when the sun was shining, agreed to run when a friend asked me, even though I'd already done Spinning that day. I ran not only as my workout, my conditioning, my tool to earn miles, but I ran for fun. I ran for sun.  I ran for me, and it paid off.


The daily breakdown looked something like this:

(Wednesday was Spinning - no running miles.)

See?  Just a little here and there.  It helped that I had the time this weekend, which isn't always the case, but usually I pressure myself to "go out there and do five miles today, because I need to log miles for the week" when my head is just not in it.  This week, I simply ran long as I felt like running, and those miles added up.

I'm thrilled :)  And today, I ran three more!  Did some high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on the treadmill, alternating one minute sprints of running at 8, 9, or 10 mph with two minutes of recovery walking at 3, 3.5, or 4 mph.  Thirty minutes of that and I covered three miles--a great start to the week!

4 minute warm up, 30 minutes of intervals

But forget the number -- I enjoyed it.  I watched Ina Garten make some delicious looking zucchini soup (with some fancy French name) and lemon-something crusted salmon, I waited for my Garmin sportswatch to beep telling me to speed up or slow down, and before I knew it I was drenched in sweat and ready to head into yoga to stretch out my legs!

Courtesy of Garmin

You can see how my heart rate skyrocketed and plummeted with my speed.  THAT is what HIIT is all about!

Do you have certain exercises you enjoy, or do you only work out to stay fit, healthy, slim, etc.?  What are your favorite types of exercises?

If you don't have an exercise you love, I dare you to FIND ONE!   Whether it's in your gym, on a DVD in your living room, or in the great outdoors, find something you enjoy.  Test out group fitness classes to see if any are fun for you.  Try Spinning, Zumba, Pilates, yoga, outdoor running--solo or group!, dancing, strength training, swimming, cycling... There is something out there for everyone, and if you enjoy what you're doing, you're likely to do it more often!

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