I went to the park last night for my triathlon training group. It was cold, dark, and damp. We warmed up with some core work and then headed out into the darkness for a three mile run with some speedwork thrown in.
After the first mile I completely ran out of gas. Every step after that was increasingly difficult. The voice in the back of my head, the one that I call my "brat voice", started complaining loudly. "I don't want to do this! I don't, I don't, I don't!" I wanted to quit. I wanted to call it a night and head home for a hot shower. I wanted to give up on triathlon training and go back to short gym workouts that I could manage.
After my mental tantrum, I started to think rationally again. I had run a half marathon (13.1 miles) three months ago; why was this short run so hard? I realized a couple of things: 1) I hadn't had enough calories or good carbs during the day to support my workout and 2) after a break (even a short and somewhat active one), getting back into vigorous exercise is HARD. Really hard. I equate it to swimming in the ocean. When you first get in the water, you are pounded by waves and knocked around. But when you get past the surf, the water is calm and enjoyable.
After I finished the run and the rest of my workout, I felt great. Very tired and hungry, but great. I gave myself a little pep talk in the car on the way home and made a mental note of a few things that I wanted to share with others who are in the "I hate this" phase of getting in shape.
- Love yourself. Be your own best friend and use kind and encouraging words in your self-talk.
- Nurture and fuel your body with good food. Eat tons of fruits and veggies and then eat some more. Eat lots of good carbs to support your workouts (brown rice, whole grain bread, quinoa and other grains).
- Drink your water. If you feel tired, drink water. If you have a headache, drink water. Water can help with so many things.
- Trust the process. Exercise is really hard when you first get started. Stick with it and it will get easier. Your reward for consistency is that you will start to look forward to and crave working out.