I run because it opens me up. It’s me time, and every moment I’m out there is a challenge that I have to meet.
It’s not easy. It reminds me of when I was swimming - it’s freeing, it relieves my stress and it gives me focus. Those good feelings are not tied to one sport. They are part of athletes’ universal language."
— Summer Sanders (via FitSugar)
"It does not matter how slow you go, so long as you do not stop."
So, I still can’t run, and it’s a huge bummer.
However, I haven’t let my hamstring injury slow me down.
But, “What does a runner do when she can’t run?” you might ask.
She swims. And she walks. She swims and she walks her hungry little butt off. Oh, and there’s weight lifting too, of course.
Even though I’d much rather be running, I’ve come to find that a) I’m actually happy to be back in the pool, (Swimming will always have a spot in my heart.) and b) that walking can be fun, because just like with running, you can focus on your pace and aim to get faster and more efficient with each mile.
I’ve been recording my walks with MapMyRun. Last week I was at about a 16 minute mile. This morning I was down to about 15 minutes per mile. That felt kind of cool!
And, here’s something else fun for you!
Yesterday I shared Kristen’s post about changing up your plan when a workout isn’t going how you had hoped, which was just oh-so-appropriate since I actually got to put her advice into action during my morning walk.
About a half of a mile after I started walking, it started to drizzle. I was getting ready to turn around right there and then and just squash the whole workout because, while running in the rain can be sort of invigorating, I just didn’t see how I would possibly enjoy my walk if it started to downpour. But, instead of calling it quits completely, I made a turn that led me back to my block and walked around the streets closer to my house, that way I could make it back quick if it started pouring. Brilliant, I know!
P.S. Can you tell from my Instagram photos that I’m just a little bit in love with my new Sweat Pink shirt? But I mean, for good reason. It’s freakin’ awesome. And, not only am I honored to be a new Sweat Pink Ambassador, but in case you missed my enthused announcement, I’m also now a FitFluential Ambassador. I’m reminding you of this because I’m really not at all excited to be working with these two groups of awesomely amazing girls. No, it’s not exciting at all :P
Anyway you Hungry Readers, here’s the take home for today.
Remember: An injury doesn’t have to stop you in your tracks completely, and there are always alternatives to a workout gone awry. You can always figure out a new plan and put it into action ASAP.
This probably sounds crazy, but when it comes to running, I usually have no problem going the extra mile. I thrive off of pushing through to the top of a hill even though I actually want nothing more than to collapse and fall onto the ground. I take pride in choosing to take the fork left, adding on an extra half of a mile, instead of turning right and taking the short way back home. I get a rush from increasing the speed on the treadmill two more points faster than I had originally planned on running.
Maybe this sounds insane to you. You’re thinking, “Who actually wants to go the extra mile? What. A. Freak!” But really, everyone has that kind of motivation within them, and it comes through strongest when you’re doing what you love. Before I started running, I was a swimmer, and it was during the hardest practices, (like, the worst ones where I legitimately thought I was going to die) that I learned the significance of pushing past my limits. Yes, maybe at the time I was probably saying something like, “I hate swimming! Why am I submitting myself to this detested torture?” But the truth is, I wouldn’t have been there if I didn’t absolutely love it. When you train as an athlete, it doesn’t take long to learn that if you’re not giving 120% at practice, nothing is going to change when it comes time to compete.
When I went away to college and my swimming career ended, I sort of forgot that for a while. But I have running to thank for helping me to re-learn the lesson. And what’s cooler is that it’s applicable to every part of life. The sentiment holds true for everything that we do. If there’s no challenge involved in whatever it is that you’re doing, yeah, maybe you’re moving, but are you going forward? And if you’re not, then what’s the point?
It’s one of those things that’s so much easier said than done, you know? Of course we want to take the flat road. Why would we want to inflict difficulty on ourselves? But, what we sometimes forget is that there are probably few benefits to be found at the end of the road without any fluctuations in its terrain. Where as, if you choose to sprint up the hill instead, at the top you’ll find all of the things you dreamed of achieving, plus the motivation to go after more.
There’s one important thing to understand, though. At first, this “100%-full-throttle- motivation” won’t be an attitude you can sustain all of the time. And when you’re just not “feelin’ it,” you can’t beat yourself up about it. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have that kind of motivation every single time I get out of bed or go for a run. In fact, it was just yesterday when I was having one of “those days”. The kind of day where my legs felt like they were being weighed down by 50-pound dumbbells attached to my ankles, and about half of a mile into my run I decided to turn around and head back home. And sometimes that’s OK. As long as you say to yourself, “Self, what was the problem here? How are we going to make this better next time?”
Everyday we should all seek out the hills in everything that we do. Whether that means adding an extra five pounds to the barbell during your last set of bicep curls, finding the will power to cut some more extra, empty calories from your daily diet, or even just trying to smile more, the point is to find out what your weaknesses are and sprint full-force towards them without ever looking back.
Kind of like:
You know? REALLY TACKLE THEM!
It feels pretty awesome when you push yourself beyond what you thought was your limit. When you do, you’ll find yourself at a certain point one week, and then easily flying by that mark the next. But that only happens when you challenge yourself. Reach outside of your comfort zone in as many situations and as many times as possible every single day. Because if you don’t, you’ll only find yourself wondering why everything continues to stay the same even though what you really want is for it to change.