Recently I read an article on the Runner’s World website that talked about how volatile it is to compare ourselves to others. The author saw a quote that read: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” While reading this article, I realized how much I compare myself to others and how it isn’t doing anything to boost my self confidence. Then I thought about it more and realized that for every time I think something positive about someone else and compare myself to them, there also could be something positive said about me, about how I can do something better than that person.
I think of my one friend who is super fashionable and who always seems to have perfect hair (which I constantly envy). Then I thought to myself, well those things are great, but can she run a half marathon like I did?
Another one of my friends is really outgoing and can make friends instantly. Then I thought, can she get through all the engineering courses I did?
Another friend is very thin and has been that way for years. To which I think, can she cook and bake like I can?
The point is, we all have good qualities, and not so great qualities. We shouldn’t focus on what other people are better than us at, but focus on what we are good at and what we want to do with our lives. Could I own really fashionable clothes? Yes, but I have an irrational fear of spending large amounts of money. Could I have perfect hair all the time? Yes, but frankly, I value sleep more than waking up early and getting myself ready. No one can be perfect all the time and accepting our shortcomings is a huge step forward in accepting ourselves.
Earlier this summer I made a resolution that I would run 40 miles in the month of June. It started out really well, but by the end of the month, the Chicago heat wave made running outside a real struggle, especially since I’m not a morning person and have zero motivation or energy to wake up and run before work.
Since I started out strong, this meant I only needed to run seven miles during the last month to complete my goal–which was extremely helpful considering I planned and threw a 50th birthday surprise party for my mom this past Saturday and I had other priorities than going out and running in 95 degree heat.
I found myself on a treadmill I think three times this month, which always proves to be a source of struggle for me, but my last run of the month, which happened to be on a treadmill, went really well! I think the air conditioning and lack of humidity really helped my breathing.
This month, I have already thought of my new goal: 50 miles of cardio activity. Since I will probably be inside a lot more this month, I want to expand my goal to include the elliptical (and possibly/probably the bike). This way, I won’t make myself crazy running on a treadmill all the time and will be able to switch up workouts. Since I find the elliptical a lot easier (and I can also bike a lot faster than I can run), I increased the mileage. Also, since I completed 40, why not add some more?
Do you have a resolution for July?
How do you push yourself to reach your fitness/health goals?
I have a confession: I get bored with workouts EXTREMELY easily. On Monday I completed treadmill interval workout that I loved. It pushed me just the right amount and I was really excited to have finally had a good workout again. Unforuntaley, I just wasn’t into doing it on Tuesday (bored?). I got through half then quit and went on the elliptical.
Working out is a huge mental game for me and I OFTEN have issues being pleased with my workouts and not allowing myself to stop along the way. For the record, I physically don’t need to stop during workouts, but mentally, I somehow always need the break. It’s very frustrating considering I ran a half marathon 2 months ago without stopping and for some reason, I now find myself needing to stop during a 3-4 mile run.
Anyways, I hope to someday come back to this treadmill interval workout and find it just as effective as I did the first time.
Total Time: 30 minutes
Total Distance: 3.28ish miles
How do you overcome exercise boredom?
I recently completed a 10 month training program for a half marathon and ran the St. Jude Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville on April 28th. I did better than I had hoped for (1:54) and want to contine my running bug. My goal is to run 40 miles a month. This wan’t too hard to complete for May since I wasn’t working for most of it. Actually, I have yet to complete it, but I’m pretty confident I will since I currently have run 39 miles and am planning to work out after work today.
My goal will probably be difficult and take some real effort to complete for the rest of summer because I have now started working from 8:30-5 Monday through Friday. I’m not the type of person to wake up extermely early in the morning and get my workout over with, so that means I’ll have to push myself to get it done after a long day of work.
I have found that setting concrete goals helps me accomplish things. So here I go–I will run 40 miles a month for at least June. I plan to readjust or reset my goal for July and on once I see how this goes. I haven’t had a real 40 hour a week job yet, so I’m worried how tired I’ll end be, but wish me luck!
Do you have any summer fitness goals?
How do you fit exercise into your busy schedule?
Back in the day, I did gymnastics and was pretty flexible. Flexibility, though, one is of those things that goes away if you don’t keep practicing it. It is also one of those things I wish I still had, so I have decided I want to be more flexible. I know if I just say this, though, it won’t actually happen. I need some sort of concrete goal to have. Luckily, I found this article on “8 stretches to get you to do the splits.” My goal, using these stretches, is to be able to do the splits by the end of summer.
After doing each of these stretches, I realized how far I may in fact be towards be goal. The poses sound easy, the girls in the pictures make the poses look so easy, yet I was in pain after being in the pose for 2 seconds! One thing I love about flexibility stretches is that you can see and feel the changes in your body. In a few weeks, I should be able to do these poses more easily. Last summer I did hot yoga a few times and I loved seeing how much more I could do after just a few classes–hopefully the same will be true with these stretches.
I’ve decided to describe the suffering I felt through each of the poses so that I can look back later and see how far I’ve come.
Pose 1: Tipover Tuck
Luckily, the set of stretches starts out easy. I was able to do this one and not feel like I was in too much pain after 30 seconds, but I thought I would be able to bend forward further.
Pose 2: Head to Knee
I was also able to do this one, but I certainly felt the burn and know that I should eventually be able to stretch further. Maybe eventually I’ll be able to get me head all the way to my knee and not be in pain?
Pose 3: Seated Straddle
This is where the struggles started. I can get my legs nowhere near as far apart as the girl in the picture and can barely even bend forward! I need a lot of work on this one.
Pose 4: Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch Against a Wall
I think this stretch was added at this point in the sequence to make us feel a little better after that last one. This stretch wasn’t difficult, but I could feel it was really stretching my hip flexors, which is really important if I hope to be able to do the splits in a couple months.
Pose 5: Lizard
This is another stretch this is somewhat do-able, but I know there’s a lot of progress to be made. I can get one forearm completely on the ground and my body is extremely crooked, which I know can’t be right. This stretch definitely has potential for me to master.
Pose 6: Standing Split
Doesn’t that look cool? Yeah, well it’s not easy. I can barely get my leg further than 90 degrees up. If I can’t do the splits horizontally, using the ground as resistance, than how am I supposed to do the splits vertically with nothing pushing my legs apart? Maybe sometime in the far future I’ll be able to do this, but I’m not holding my breath.
Pose 7: Standing Head to Big Toe C
This is a pose I had seen before when doing hot yoga, but we always stopped at 90 degrees. I was proud of myself when I was able to hold my upright leg completely straight at 90 degrees and not topple over! But now I have to increase the upright leg height? Sounds difficult, but I’ll give it a try and hopefully make some progress.
Pose 8: Supported Split
Here’s the moment of truth: the actual splits. At the end of summer, I hope to do this stretch unsupported. I’m maybe 7 or 8 inches off the ground now? I struggled to hold this in place of 30 seconds, but I looked down and did my best. While looking down, I noticed the word “flexibility” on my shirt, which I found extremely inspiring. Now, the shirt I’m wearing is one I got from attending a national civil engineering honor society conclave in March, so I’m not really sure how flexibility fits in, but the fact that it’s there means that flexibility can help me in other dimensions of life. Yes, the flexibility mentioned in the shirt probably related more to adaptability and the ability to be flexible in your job rather than physical flexibility, but I think physical flexibility will teach me that I can push myself. Wish me luck on my journey!
Do you have any goals for this summer?
What are some of your favorite flexibility stretches?
So, as I said in my last post, I ran the St. Jude Music City Half Marathon in Nashville last week. Although there were bands playing during it, I listened to my iPod for the most part. I have to say, it was a pretty great playlist, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite songs from it. I really like mashups, so those were the majority of my playlist. If you go on long runs, I would definitely recommend the Eminem and Kelly Clarkson songs I have listed below–they really get you motivated to run through the pain!
Levels – Avicii
Summer Weekend – DJ Trademark
Lose Yourself – Eminem
Wild Ones – Flo Rida & Sia
Brokenhearted – Karmin
What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger) – Kelly Clarkson
Love Today – Mika
Starships – Nicki Minaj
What Makes You Beautiful – One Direction
Love Don’t Let Me Go – David Guetta vs. The Egg
Don’t Stop the Levels – Avicii vs. Journey Project 46
December 4th vs. Oh What a Night – DJ Topcat mashup
Otherside (Tim Mason Remix) – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Tipsy in the Sun – The White Panda
We Found Somebody That I Used to Know – P.A.F.F. mashup
Top of the Pops 2011 – Mashup Germany
Livin the Dream (I’m on a Float) – Super Mash Bros
Most of the mashup songs can’t be found on iTunes, but I’ve found a great site that converts YouTube videos to MP3s. You copy+paste the link from YouTube into window, click high quality, then convert. Once the file is downloaded, you open the folder, then just drag it into your iTunes–so simple!
What are some of your favorite running songs?