Friday, March 22, 2019

How to Push Yourself to Work Out When it's the Last Thing You Want to Do

Just like every Thursday is for me, today was strength training and bootcamp day. Last night before I went to bed, I checked out the workout posted on the website and signed up for the class. No hesitation, no rumination. It's my Thursday routine.

This morning, I woke up with a headache. Every joint in my body ached. It was dark, cold, and rainy. I laid in bed and wrestled with thoughts of staying there. I thought about skipping my workout. Cliche or not, the struggle was real.

I made the decision to get up and have a cup of coffee. Coffee makes everything better, right? Still not feeling well, I made a smoothie, took my vitamins, and considered my situation. No one was forcing me to go, right? I could text Sammy Jo and tell her I wasn't feeling well. Or I could take some ibuprofen and try to chase away my headache and joint pain.

What do you think I did? I think you know. Not only did I start to feel better, but I also had a great workout. I lifted heavy on my deadlifts. I made it through 5 rounds of a tough AMRAP that included a total of 1750m of running.

You never know if you don't try, right?



Lack of motivation. It's real and it's a mental game. On the same day that I struggled to get myself moving, my friend Marcia wrote a great Instagram post on mental toughness. Not all of us are glass half full kind of people and many of us need strategies to get ourselves moving when it's the last thing we want to do. Here are some of the things that work for me.

Put it on the calendar. 
I don't keep a running journal but I do put all my workouts on the calendar. I run 3 days per week and there is some flexibility in that, mostly depending on the weather. But Thursday is a standing date with Sammy Jo for strength training, followed by bootcamp. I've also added a Friday afternoon bootcamp and have gotten pretty good about consistently attending.

Am I right?
Remind yourself how bad you'll feel if you skip it.
People have told me that guilt is a useless emotion, but guilt is a really good motivator. I've become really good at guilting myself into going to work when I don't feel like it and the same applies to working out. You're only cheating on yourself when you skip a workout, you know...

Running on this blustery, wet day was the last thing I wanted to do.
Especially the day after coming home from vacation.
Set a goal that you can only achieve through your workouts.
Although my PR days are behind me, I still want to finish my races strong. The only way that can happen is if I do the work. I'm working on reducing my run/walk intervals. With regards to my strength work, I have a goal of doing one strict pullup and I continue to work on holding handstand. The strength training will help me get there.

Handstand practice on the beach means a soft landing when you fall.

Dream about rewards from your workouts.
I just returned home from a vacation with my 2 grown sons. I knew that laying on the beach wasn't going to be something they'd want to do. We had a very active vacation which included lots of kayaking, SUPing, and walking. Keeping up with my boys is a great motivator for me. Sitting on the sidelines watching them have fun isn't something I want to be doing!

Climbed up this ramp just to show them I could.

Find your people.
I am a solo runner but my online fitness tribe motivates me. When I go on Instagram and see what my fellow athletes are doing, it makes me want to get out there and move too. I am in an age group where the number of peers is shrinking dramatically. Seeing women my age group crushing goals and pushing themselves is very powerful.

My local friend Steph, who pushes me and motivates me.

Dress for the job you want...
Don't laugh at this superficial suggestion. I had a brand new InknBurn singlet waiting for me when I got home from Florida and you know I wore it to CrossFit this morning. It's beautiful, fit perfectly, and made me feel good. Never underestimate the power of looking good. Wearing old baggy sweats and a t-shirt, while practical, won't project an image of confidence. Look good, feel good!

Heavy AF. But loving my new Sakura racerback from INB.

Just try. You can always quit if it's really not your day.
Hey, we all have bad days, bad runs. It always amazes me when I go out for a run, just not feeling it, and end up having a fantastic run. If I didn't try, I would have missed it! But there are also times when it's just not my day and I end up walking home. That's ok. At least I tried.


To get myself moving this morning, I did all these things. There are days where employing one strategy would be enough to get me out the door. Bottom line, you only regret the workout you didn't do.

Thinking about staying in bed? Motivation for those days when you just aren't feeling it. /via @oldrunningmom #runchat #motivation

How do you push yourself when you don't feel like working out or running?

I'm linking up with Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness.




22 comments :

  1. Sometimes my best workouts or runs are on days that I really don't want to do it. Finding my peeps has been the best motivation for me. I get super jealous if I see photos of my friends running and I am not there. I don't however, have the physical aches and pains that you often struggle with. Your ability to always push through that requires a great deal of mental toughness.

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    1. I won't lie--the fatigue and aches make it much tougher to get moving! Good think I have a strong will. Plus I know I'll feel better when I go.

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  2. Once I started working out in the morning, I found that I stopped skipping workouts. Even if I don't feel like working out, it's 6AM and I'm awake, so what else am I going to do with my time? Although it was tough to transition to early morning workouts, the payoff is that I really don't have to talk myself into working out, it just kind of happens on autopilot. And somehow it also helps me know when not to work out, like if something hurts or I'm sick...from experience I know that's less than 1% of the time, so I can give myself total grace to get back into bed on those rare times.

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    1. I used to be that early morning riser! Now I like to move a little slower in the morning. I still am a morning exerciser, tho.

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  3. I don't know why replies get eaten sometimes (which is what happened to mine apparently).

    Anyway, I'm usually a glass half full gal. It's been kind of hard lately -- a lot of rather serious illnesses in my extended family. My mom's best friend is in hospice. :(

    Still, I always tell myself I can quit if I'm not really feeling it -- which rarely happens. And you know I believe in the power of dressing for the part. :)

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    1. I do tell myself I can quit if it's not happening for me but I really don't like to do that!

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  4. I just don't see it as a choice. It's part of my commitment to myself. So, I just go for it without overthinking it!

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    1. I'm the queen of overthinking! But I still just go--after a lot of rumination.

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  5. I do best if it's on a training calendar, then I feel guilty if I skip my workout. Also, if I get into workout gear I am most likely going to get sweaty :)

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    1. I don't think I've ever skipped a workout after I've dressed for it! That's a good plan.

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  6. If I write it down it's almost like I HAVE to do it. I also use the "you will feel like crap if you DON"T do this too!)
    Great post Wendy! I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

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  7. Exactly! You never regret the workouts you so just the ones you don't!

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  8. I have a set schedule for both running and working out and the only time I'll miss is if it's storming (don't want to get struck by lightening) or if I'm really sick. I feel so good when I'm finished with a workout that even if I am a little meh about going, I don't miss it because of that.

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    1. It's really rare for me to regret going. I always have to remind myself of that.

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  9. I do what you do - I just push myself to go and do it! I always remind myself that I have never regretted doing a workout I was not enthusiastic about to begin with, but I have almost always regretted every workout I have ever skipped. After you have done as many as we have, you understand that! :)

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  10. I agree with you on the positive role guilt can play. Well used, it's a great tool.
    Love the new tank.
    Glad you felt up to the kind of vacation you wanted with your sons. The book I just reviewed had a great tenet that stuck with me: change the plan not the goal.

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    1. Yep, flexibility and rolling with what life brings you was the key to a very fun week!

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  11. Interesting. I've sagged during long runs before (my 16 before I went away, having an accident early in my 18 on Sunday) but tell myself the marathon won't be pleasant if I don't put the time in on the long training runs. I do tend to not go if I don't want to run, however, as I always want to run so I know something's up. With my dead-at-the-moment strength training I will try to use some of these! I think telling myself I need to get a photo for the blog does sometimes work for the physio and conditioning, though that feels a bit weird!

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    1. Yep, the incentive for a photo to post on IG or the blog is definitely another motivator! I hadn't thought about that, but you are right.

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