Just Doing It

Last Sunday I finished my run on the treadmill and looked outside at the grey rainy day with dread. I had decided since I had missed a full week of work that I would head into the office to play a bit of catch up. It was by choice–no one asked or even suggested that it was necessary that I make up the time–it was my idea.

The six miles I got in were undoubtedly energizing and I had a protein shake and snacks packed and ready to get me through a considerably shortened work day. Still, the weather was working against me; the gloom started to infiltrate my mind and chase back all the endorphins that were pumping away in my system. All these garbage thoughts began swirling around in my head:

It’s gonna be a pain in the ass to commute in the rain.

It’s Sunday, the trains are probably running super slow.

I’m gonna feel gross the whole day since I’m heading straight into the office without showering.

Then something different happened. Instead of letting these thoughts permeate–I shut them up. I was tired of my own bullshit. I think it’s related to how much I’ve been contemplating time lately and how it often feels like it’s getting away from me far too quickly. I realized in that moment that all my moaning and groaning was a huge time suck–a waste of valuable minutes and energy. I had already committed to going into the office. I had brought an umbrella and worn my rain boots in preparation for the wet weather. It was a weekend and I had no set schedule so regardless of how slow the trains were running, I couldn’t be late. I had also packed a set of dry clothes which would provide more than enough cleanliness and comfort to work alone for 5 or 6 hours before getting back home to shower. On top of all this, I had picked this Sunday specifically because we had just come off of a short week with the holiday. It really didn’t feel too tiresome to spend a few hours of one of my days off in the office.

I realized that I could let the negative thoughts take up my time and even shape the rest of my day, or I could cut the crap and just continue on the path I had so constructively laid out. Basically I could whine, or I could just do it. 

In my opinion, the brilliance of the Nike slogan is unending. It pops in my head at all different times, it always feels relevant. Lately I’ve been using it in yoga. Frequently I get winded between postures and tend to take my time getting into the next move in order to grab a few extra breaths. I often have teachers coaching me to get out of my head and get into the posture. There have been times when I’ve resented this remark. I work hard. If I need an extra breath that’s just me taking care of myself, it’s not a scapegoat. But, recently, in the spirit of being teachable I’ve decided to take their advice and get right into the postures, with the caveat that I can always fall out early if I need to. What I’ve found is that I have a lot more strength and energy than my mind lets on. I’ve even discovered that pacing and evening out my breath within a posture can be just as or even more rejuvenating than resting completely. I’m building a new muscle–one my mind has repeatedly convinced me I don’t have.

The benefits of this new mindset showed themselves in what turned out to be a pretty kick-ass tempo run this morning. I was able to maintain an 8:35 pace for a full three miles. While I’m not sure yet how that will translate to an actual 5k race (the controlled elements of the treadmill are quite conducive to keeping one’s pace), I’m optimistic that I am heading in the right direction. After a couple of months at this, I have to say that trying to run longer distances feels like such a linear process in comparison to trying to run faster. Each week you stretch those miles by a small percentage, then you step back, and then build again. Progress almost always seems visible. Working to get faster has been a bit different for me. I think this is the first time in about a month and a half that I really feel like I’ve had significant gains. I’ve shaved about 15 seconds per mile off of what I was running in the beginning of the year. But, while the progress of my performance might feel slower, my overall fitness feels like it’s never been better. I think the heavy focus I like to put on yoga and strength training melds together better with speed-work than it does with long slow runs.

Now that I’ve accomplished what I’ve set out to for the day, I’m finishing out this weekend with the Big Ten Tournament final (Go Blue!) and then the Oscars later tonight. Hope everyone enjoys my favorite Sunday of the year!

 

What about you? Is there anything you’re wasting time and energy on by procrastinating or whining? What constraints has your mind put on you recently that you’ve come to realize are false? 

How about my runners? Anyone have a preference on training to get faster vs training for distance?

Last–and MOST importantly…who’s ready for MARCH MADNESS?!?!

 

header: mike wilson

52 thoughts on “Just Doing It

    1. Yes! I totally get that “should” thinking or more and more miles! Now that I’ve got a marathon done I think I am getting over that, gratefully. I love that the sport is so varied and there are so many ways we can challenge ourselves and so much we can learn! Happy to be following another short distance (for now 😉 ) runner!

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  1. Pingback: Five Quick Thoughts – cat h. bradley

  2. You never fail to motivate me chick! My head space has been all over the last few months. I’m trying to not let things get to me though, and find the positive spin each time. I’m also a believer in the universe doing things for a reason, so I need to Just chill the Fuck out 😂 sounds like your training is coming along really well 😁 I’ve always been told that slow long runs also help with building short distance speed, and it does seem to work! Good luck chick xx

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    1. I am thinking when it gets warm again I may throw in a slow long run every now and again–I just can’t handle that type of run indoors on the treadmill!
      And yes–everything for a reason…TRUST! x

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      1. My gender and age group have to run a 1 1/2 mile in no more than 13:30. But that’s the lowest score. If you make the lowest score on the run then you have to make it up on the push ups, sit ups, or waist measurement.

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  3. To get faster you have to practice it and focus an element of training on it. The distance builds up a great base fitness but dedicated speed / interval sessions definitely work. I took a minute off my 4km PB last year mostly because I was a much more regular attendee at my weekly time trial! And from there it’s led to PBs at a lot of longer distances.

    I’ve done a lot of whining about training recently but the taper is approaching so I’ll keep with the Nike slogan for another week 😉

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    1. I think you are right Nik–and I think I am really liking that work–and the learning of it. The asking questions and the reading about strategy and workouts–I love it! I guess I was the same during the marathon training. It’s fun to have a project, right? It’s good to have something to be working on.
      Woohoo for almost taper time!! Way to stay in the game!

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  4. Awesome post! I totally agree with the attitude/thought theory. Our thoughts manifest into some physical form of reality, whether it be hiking, working-out…, actually all that encompasses the way we chose to experience life. (In my humble opinion)

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    1. Thank you so much! I haven’t quite thought of it the way you put it–thoughts manifest themselves into some physical form of reality–but it makes so much sense. Just a different way of saying what I’ve said here. I like it–makes sense to me!
      Thanks so much for sharing.

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  5. qplourde

    I’ve been working on getting faster as well. After the marathon, I needed a new goal where I could see improvements and so far it’s been pretty rewarding. I’ve seen improvements in my 5K and half marathon – I think this is what has kept me on track with training. It does get difficult some days, but I always feel better afterwards. I try to focus on that feeling. Great work!

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    1. That is so awesome you’ve seen those improvements Q! I haven’t actually raced anything yet so I’m not really sure where I am at–I know the road will be different from the treadmill!

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  6. I could have done with reading this yesterday morning before I whined my way around a perfectly nice 13.1 mile route with friends (this hill is going on for EVER. More up? There is ICE HERE ICE NOOOO, etc.). Ah well. They tolerated me and I was pleased with my distance after having done 2 hours 10 cardio in the gym on Sunday, including a 40 minute spin class. I have equalled this to one 20 mile run in my mind and various people have agreed with me, and it was super helpful to be running depleted on tired legs, very good for building resilience!

    As to speed and distance, I think they’re both mental to a point. I have always been “a slow runner” and that’s fine and who I am and all good. But I have been pushing myself a bit more recently (something I find very hard to do, I think to do with a self-preservation instinct I had to develop early to protect myself) and have found that yes, I can do 5 miles at under 11 minute miles. OK, I know that’s not fast, but it’s faster than usual me, for years. All about unlocking a mental block.

    Thank you for sharing your truth and helping others with it!

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    1. Lady you are killing it! That gym workout is badass! And ugh–running on tired legs–I have to admit I am not missing that at the moment!
      Also–I think under 11 is fast. I know it’s all relative to the person–but I know what that pace feels like–it’s what I ran the marathon in, and it was fucking hard!!
      Thank you for always listening to my truth and responding with your own–I ALWAYS enjoy and admire your perspective!

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      1. I don’t normally get that tired in a marathon so it was certainly great for my resilience. My new policy of training for worse than it actually should be paid off last time, and this marathon is almost totally flat, and well supported, yet I’ve been running hills every time and on my own a lot, so hopefully … Only 30 days to go now, so watch out for the race report on my blog!

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      2. Ha, you can if you want, it’s the Greater Manchester Marathon and I should be registered under Liz Dexter when it’s available. For most fun, see if you can track all the folk from Kings Heath RC, we will range from 2.5 to 6 hours!

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  7. drnjbmd

    My running keeps me civilized and focused. If I don’t get my 4AM run done, I make sure I get some steps done at work (better than coffee) so that I get a fresh perspective. I have met plenty of new people just walking the building and in the stairwells. I envy your 8:35 pace because I am slow but I keep moving. (I am old too). Great post.

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    1. I love that you have met new people just walking your building–that really does bring a fresh perspective! Slow is relative–your slow is someone else’s sprint. It’s all running–and like you say, keeping it moving!
      Thanks so much for reading!

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  8. Hooray for the kick ass tempo! I have TOO much to say about training to get faster. I’m not going to subject you to all that.

    It’s amazing how we can “control our own destiny” with our mental approach to things. If I want to be unhappy, I can be. If I want to be happy, I can be. After work, I was noticing that I was sort of worn out, impatient and irritable. Then I “got tired of my own bullshit” and changed my approach. I thought of myself as a server in a restaurant and made it my goal to be polite, kind and helpful to my family. The tip that I received was love and appreciation. I changed nothing but my attitude. Long comment again! I might as well have rambled on about getting faster. 🙂

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    1. No, tell me about getting faster! You know me I’m all about the crowdsourcing!
      Oh, but I do appreciate your comment about your family and changing your attitude–it’s crazy what a difference that shift can make. I’m sure too that especially since you are such an integral part of your fam it really affects all of them–your shift trickles down.
      Ok–but for real-any advice on getting faster…shoot!

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      1. In my opinion, speed is mental to a point (at least in the beginning). I worked with several runners whose fitness really didn’t change noticeably but they were able to get faster. It’s a matter of establishing a new level of discomfort that you are willing to tolerate and repeat until it becomes a new base line. You’ll get better at it and faster, while also improving your level of fitness. Speed work and intervals, baby.

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      2. I am really glad you brought this up Randy cause honestly, it’s not something that I’ve considered. I was so spent mentally from the whole marathon thing, I haven’t really thought about the shorter, faster, mental game.
        I love what you say about establishing a new level of discomfort–this is sort of my mantra in life in general, so it is right up my alley! But really, I also feel like it’s exactly what’s happening on my tempo runs, I am learning to tolerate a new level of discomfort for a longer period of time. It’s pretty cool. What’s exciting to me about working on getting faster is that i am looking forward to all of my workouts–they are fun and challenging and make me feel like something is happening. Didn’t always have that before! Thanks for your thoughts–always appreciate them!

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      3. Yes! Thanks for a thoughtful reply. You definitely can get faster from tempos in the same way. I think it’s a little less extreme and a little more gradual but will help for sure. I know you’ll do great 😀

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  9. Nipping the internal nag at its onset is such a valuable skill (art?). I’ve recently tried to shift the unpleasant (like washing the big pots and pans, taking out the compost, or waking up at 5:30 for a run) to ‘just things’ as opposed to ‘things I don’t want to do.’ Whether it’s working or not… who knows. But I 100% agree – our energy is limited and there’s no used to wasting it on the negative!

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    1. I’m OBSESSED with this belief now–energy is limited. I think this year so far has been big as far as identifying time sucks and things that are taking my energy that don’t need to be. It makes me excited because I feel like if i can work to eliminate these things–I have a much higher capacity to complete and excel at the things that really matter to me. I guess we will see if my theory actually heeds any results–or if by the end of this year I just say fuck it and whine about cleaning the bathroom while scrolling through facebook!

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      1. LOL. You’re my favourite.
        Time will tell indeed. You’re the person that learns something from every experiment, though, so regardless of outcome I have a feeling it will lead to positive results 🙂

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      2. Ok, you are my favourite for like a million reasons. First off, I was going to comment the other day that you were my favorite, but then i thought, is this girl gonna think I am taking our blogging relationship too far? Will she think it’s weird that stuff she says really means something to me?!
        I just have to say that there is something strengthening to me about knowing that there is this person out there whose life looks really different from mine–but who really values the same things and is really trying to live life in a really similar way. A person who is eager to learn and willing to change. You’re a treasure to me, for real!

        Oh, the second reason you’re my fav–of the two I will give today–is that you spelled it favOURite. This is how I see this word in my head. As i see honOUR and labOUR. But it’s not how we spell them in the US and I get the red squiggly. Somewhere inside me there is really a proper English woman. I think I am just going to start spelling them like that and saying fuck the squiggly line and my fellow citizens. We Americans butcher everything!!

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  10. I’m trying not to whine and be negative at work. Yes there are problems but they aren’t ones I can solve so I’m trying to keep myself positive and do my job

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  11. Oh my gosh! I literally said that out loud when I read this post! “Just Do It” has totally been my mantra since I first started running (in 2016). It is so simple, yet so on point! For me, it was telling myself to stop complaining and thinking of reasons why I shouldn’t and just do it! Your post here is absolutely perfect timing too. I have fallen out of my fitness routine terribly over the past few weeks and I’m trying so hard not to beat myself up about it, but at the same time, I need to be careful not to fall into old habits and make exercise a priority. Thank you for your post, like I said, it hit my inbox at just the right time!

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    1. So glad this struck a cord Cathy! I think Steph has it exactly right with the making it a priority to just get there or out the door or wherever it is you need to be to work out. I negotiate with myself all the time to get on the treadmill. Sometimes I’ll get done lifting and i dread the run so much. But just like Steph I’ll tell myself–alright, all you need to do is one easy mile just to get the blood pumping–10 minutes, that’s it.
      I can’t remember the last time I only ran one mile–but the thought of doing JUST that has gotten me on that treadmill or out the door a thousand times!

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  12. YES I love this post! I have been thinking about the idea of “just doing it” and not wasting time thinking negative thoughts lately as well. I find myself dreading certain chores or errands so much each week that I am already in a bad mood about having to do them the day before. I can definitely relate to your feeling here and understand the mental struggle. Our minds have such power, and even with knowing this, it is still difficult sometimes for me to change my mindset.

    Shaving 15 seconds off your mile time is incredible! That is such a huge amount of time to shave off in just a few months. I always find that making progress in my running leads me to feel more confident and motivated in other aspects of my life as well. Keep up the great work!!

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    1. It really is a time suck, right? When we spend so much of our mental power thinking about how we don’t want to do something. Whatever needs to be done could often be done already in the time we spend dreading!
      It’s so funny, when I wrote that i shaved 15 seconds off my mile time I shrugged feeling like it wasn’t very impressive. But now that you’ve said it with an exclamation point, I feel pretty good about it! Oy vey. Head is a ball full of crazy. Thanks girl! x

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  13. Getting a bit more aware of your own mind tricks and just saying okay, now I’m gonna do it this way. Good for you! I’m impressed with your awareness and self discipline there, Cat. To say nothing of your speed work–big change! Enjoy

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    1. I’ve found that if I listen to my complaining voice and then check in–is this an actual issue or just habit, it makes a difference. Likewise, giving myself permission to quit/take a break early if its “too much” gives me equal permission to stay with something longer if I choose. Its amazing how awareness of having a choice bestows such a sense of possibility.

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      1. I like what you said here about giving yourself permission to quit if it’s “too much”. The hardest part for me was always getting started in the first place (as I’m sure it is for many people). So this suggests to me that I can reason with myself more easily, allowing me to get started quicker, knowing that I can quit if I need to. And really, I haven’t ever quit a workout because it’s too hard. I just modify it in places to be able to get through to the end.

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      2. Many years back, in grad school, I realized that I couldn’t make going to the gym negotiable if I wanted to go regularly. The approach I came up with was I had to stay 10 minutes. So one day I fell asleep while stretching with my friend tumbling by me on one side and pickup basketball on the other. I went home. The other 500 or so days, I was fine and not sorry to have worked out

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      3. That is exactly the mindset I had in yoga–I can fall out whenever I want but I’ve gotta get into it and try. I use the same mindset with writing sometimes as well–I tell myself all I need is 250 words and I can go do something else if i am still not into it. Sometimes I call it quits after the 250 cause it’s really not my day. And sometimes I’m off and running!

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      4. Def Steph, I think learning to decipher between those voices has been the most important thing and I’m continuously in practice. There are most definitely times in yoga where I actually need a breath, or even to sit down. What I realized the last month was just that even my self care can become habitual just like you’ve said. So I guess the key is to be present and live whatever my truth is in that moment.

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    2. Sometimes I wonder Steph—if I’m ever really changing, or if I’m just learning who I am on a deeper level. Like is that what we are all doing? Are we growing, or just uncovering who we really are? Is that part of the whole point—awareness?
      Idk but this is what your comment made me think!

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