Wednesday, September 14, 2016

5 Ways I Get Out the Door When I Don't Want to Workout

Let's be real. Some days just feel harder than others. I know that for me, those hard days see me wanting to spend as little as time as possible doing...well....everything. On those hard days, I just want to hang out with my cat and watch Netflix.

Who wouldn't want to lazily hang out with this furry face all day?
Don't get me wrong. Everyone needs a rest day now and then. Rest days are important. But a whole bunch of rest days all in a row? Not really the best idea. Here are five things I do regularly to help get my butt out the door for a run or workout on the days when I really really really don't want to exercise.

1. Set yourself up for success. Lay out anything you need for your workout the night before. I'm heading to the gym in the morning before work for some cross training, so I have my workout clothes, shoes, headband, inhaler, and water bottle ready to go. Sometimes, if I have a morning workout planned, then I'll even sleep in my workout clothes. By making my morning as easy as possible with as few decisions to make as possible means that I'm more likely to follow through with my plan in the morning.

2. Workout with friends. Set a specific date and time to meet with your workout buddies. Write it down and commit to being there. Knowing that I have a friend or a group of friends who are expecting me means that I will show up. And once I'm there, it is nice to have someone cheering me on, especially when my self talk turns to the negative side. Having someone telling you that you can do it can make a huge difference. I honestly don't know if I would have gotten through my whole 18 miler without the awesome runners I was with that day.

These awesome people kept me going for those last few miles when I really wanted to give up.

3. Create accountability. Find someone or something that will hold you accountable on a regular basis. I have a friend who has been having trouble sticking to her workouts recently, so now she texts me every time she works out, and if too many days go by without a text, then I check in with her to remind her about her goals. For me, simple keeping a training log helps. I have a written plan for each day of the week posted next to my door, and everyday I mark if I complete the workout or not and why or why not and my thoughts/feelings about the outcome. Having to write down that I didn't complete my run because I was feeling lazy doesn't feel good and is usually enough of a motivator to get me out the door.

4. Treat yo' self! Rewards are awesome! Creating a reward or a series of rewards for working out can help give you that extra little push you need. Last year, I put a dollar in a jar after every workout. Once I had enough cash in my jar, I treated myself to some new running clothes. Right now, I treat myself to either coffee or brunch after each long run. I've come to associate exercise with these delicious things. Positive reinforcement isn't just for our pets. And if I miss a long run? Well, then there is no brunch for me that week.

The chocolate smoothie at Starbucks is delicious when you can't stomach solid food after a long and hot run.
5. Give yourself a specific goal. Exercising for the sake of being fit and healthy is fantastic. After all, I started running because I wanted to improve my health. But that wasn't enough to keep me going. I had a lot of starts and stops. Some of us just need a little something more. This is one of the reasons that I run races. One of the ways I was able to establish a consistent running routine when I first started running was by signing up for my first 5k. Even now, three years later, I use races as goals to keep me running on the days that I would rather just wear pajamas and hang out on the internet. Would I have run 18 miles last weekend if I wasn't registered to run the Chicago Marathon next month? No. Absolutely not. But knowing that I have to run 26.2 miles on October 9 has kept me going all summer. Today I overslept, had a long and hard day at work, and really didn't want to run when I finally got home at 9pm. Then I thought about the race, changed my clothes, and went for a run.

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