Since the beginning of January, I’ve been training (half-heartedly, let’s be honest) to run a 5k at the end of March (this upcoming Saturday!) It really was a spur-of-the-moment decision to sign up for this race because I’ve been steadfast in my belief that running is not for me. At the time I signed up, I was in a very confusing place and I think I needed an escape. And this 5k was exactly the escape I needed because it’s in Savannah. (And maybe that’s the real reason I signed up – a chance to return to Savannah!)
But I plopped down the money for the race, my mom reserved the hotel, and we asked for time off from work. We were going to travel to Savannah just to run a 5k. Yep, yep, yep!
It’s been two-and-a-half months now, and I’ve been training. Somewhat. I started by using the Couch-to-5k program, but I wasn’t liking it. Then, I tried forcing myself to run as far as I could at one time, and running a little bit farther each subsequent run. But that just made me hate my life. Then, I tried an interval running program where I would run for 1/4 a mile, walk 1/4 a mile, run 1/4 a mile, walk 1/4 a mile, and so on and so forth.
The interval training has been working the best for me. It pushes me, it makes me feel strong, and it’s giving me confidence that maybe race day won’t be so miserable.
I know I won’t get any sort of personal record on Saturday. I am hoping to finish in under 45 minutes, which yes, is very slow, but that feels doable for me. I am not a fast runner, nor am I a fast walker. All I am hoping is that I enjoy myself, that I try my best and don’t beat myself up if I don’t make the 45 minute goal time.
Throughout training for a 5k, though, it has really been eye-opening for me to discover that, as much as I think I want to be a runner, it’s not something I love. Plain and simple. I never look forward to my runs, I grumble and whine during my runs, and I’m usually left wishing I had tried harder at the end of my runs. It’s just not fun for me.
To be honest, I think the reason why I want to become a runner is because it’s another thing to share with my mom. She’s the real runner in the family, my inspiring two-time marathoner. And though we have just about everything in the world in common, I think I just have to accept that we won’t have this. This hobby that means so much to her, is something that makes me miserable.
But through this realization, and through this time of training for a race, I’ve discovered that exercise should be fun. This is something we do because we want to do it. Yes, of course, it’s something we all should be doing for our health, but honestly, it’s not something we have to do. It’s optional. (A highly suggested optional thing, but optional nonetheless.) So, this optional activity should be fun. It should make us feel good. For me, running does not do that. But other workouts? Oh, yes. They get me excited, they make me feel awesome, and they are just plain fun. (Sometimes. Not everything is fun all the time.)
Here are my workout loves:
I love spinning, and I used to do it all the time when I had a gym membership. It’s such a great workout, and it pushes me way past my comfort zone. But I have a gym at my apartment, so it’s hard to cough up a monthly membership fee. That said, we have LA Fitness locations throughout St. Pete and Tampa, all of which offer cycling classes that fit perfectly with my schedule, and it’s only $30 a month. I am seriously considering membership there, if only to have access to spin whenever I want.
Cardio machines at my apartment gym
My apartment gym is tiny, but it has worked for my needs for the past few years. The gym consists of free weights, weight machines, two treadmills, two ellipticals, and a stationary bike. I really love jumping on a cardio machine for a workout because I can zone out and go. (Bonus: my apartment gym has wi-fi, so I can watch Netflix while I work out, too.) Plus, it’s super convenient because it’s a 24/7 gym and just steps away from my apartment.
Well, not just any workout DVDs. I’m talking Jillian Michaels, my favorite being Ripped in 30. Jillian Michaels is a tough trainer, and her DVDs absolutely crush me. I struggle through them, even doing modifications, but I love them because they combine strength, cardio, and ab work into a quick 30-minute program. And there’s nothing like seeing improvements in your fitness level and/or body!
Pinterest is my go-to resource for finding at-home circuit training workouts to complete. I have a bunch saved on my workout board, and I think I’ve tried each of them at least once. I get bored very easily with workouts, so I constantly need to find new and interesting workouts to try. I love doing a circuit workout when I don’t feel like walking over to the gym, but I still want to get my heart pumping. And I love doing these at home because I can go at my own pace. Oh! And another great resource for circuit training is the Nike Training Club, which is an app. The workouts are a little too advanced for my fitness level, but I wanted to mention them for anyone looking to amp up their workouts.
My favorite way to work out, hands down. I love strength training. It feels so good! It makes me feel strong and powerful and capable, and nothing beats that muscle soreness after a good strength training workout. I call it “toilet sore” because it hurts just to sit on the toilet. Ha. I really, really want to work strength training back into my normal workout regime again. I miss it so much!
So, those are my workout loves! It’s difficult to figure out what should take precedence because I’m not someone who wants to work out two hours a day, every day. For me, 30 minutes on weekdays and an hour on weekends is what I commit to because I just really treasure my time spent on the couch. 😉 I know my limits and I know how much time I’m willing to put in to working out.
I’m spending this week in race training mode, but once next week rolls around, I’m switching things up dramatically! Most likely, I won’t be joining a gym anytime soon (especially because, at LA Fitness, there’s a $100 sign-up fee, ugh), but I have plenty of resources at my disposal for other workouts, like cardio machines, strength training, and workout DVDs. My plan, most likely, is to start using Ripped in 30 for weekday workouts and use my weekends for longer workouts, like 30 minutes on the elliptical and then 15-30 minutes of strength training.
That’s the whole key to this life thing, you know? Do what you love. Push yourself and try new things, but if you don’t love that new thing? Stop doing that thing. Find what you love, and embrace it. Don’t apologize for it. I am just not a runner. I can safely say I have tried to become a runner, and it just is not a workout that suits my personality or my desires. But there are workouts I do love, and I want to spend more time on those workouts than on something that doesn’t make me feel good.
What is your #1 workout love? What’s one workout program you haven’t tried yet, but want to? For me, I really want to try yoga because I’m sure it would do wonders for my mental state (ha), but I’m overweight and not very bendy, so I just feel like it would be a frustrating workout for me! (Can you tell I’m somewhat of a perfectionist? Ha.)