Saturday, February 9, 2013

Excuses

We take a break from our regularly scheduled Free for all Friday to say a few words about excuses.
Everybody has excuses, some are valid, some are not but honestly excuses get a bad wrap sometimes and I don't know that it's entirely deserved. My Facebook news feed is full of inspirational quotes, photos and stories encouraging people to workout (primarily, although some are just life quotes) and sometimes it's easy to get caught up in constantly seeing these "Don't be a quitter" warnings and not giving yourself the time off that you need and killing yourself trying. When I look at my new school/work schedule I do find time to workout, but I don't find hours that can be spared not doing homework or in commute. For example, I'm not a fast runner. To run 5 miles takes me close to an hour. So seeing constant images telling me to do more and more and more miles easily makes me feel like crap, that is, if I choose to let it. Here are some examples of where I'm coming from:

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This is true. We do spend a lot of time focusing on all the bad in our lives. My job sucks, I don't sleep enough, I don't have any money, I'm too fat, My hair is too curly, etc. etc. But sometimes you need to and deserve to talk about your problems. If I'm in a really stressful place and having trouble and needing someone to talk to and I see this on my newsfeed, I might just push those feelings back down, paint on a smile and charge on until I crack. And that isn't ok either.


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This is a classic case of "I'm better than you." and that attitude permeates gyms and running groups across the country and is precisely why those "resolutioners" quit showing up to classes and stair stepper machines. People who are truly concerned with their fitness and the health of others get to a place where comparisons are no longer necessary. My current easy run is what my previous long run used to be. Who cares? You can't get to a more intense workout level without starting somewhere so images like this just make you look like an ass.


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I'm a very literal person. Seeing something like this easily gives the impression that no matter what, you must keep going. Hurt, sick, tired, doesn't matter, keep going. To some degree this is true. Not working out because you're a little tired is sometimes just an excuse but sometimes you're hurt or sick and "running through it" is one of the worst things you can do. This is when you need to "listen to your body." But how many of these "inspirational" images remind you to take care of yourself and sleep if you need it, stop when you're hurt or rest and hydrate when you're sick?


To get to my point, sometimes excuses are valid and we can't be afraid to make them from time to time. Looking back at this post, I realize how ridiculous it was at some point. I was (and still am) obviously disappointed that I won't be able to do an oly as planned. But it was from seeing images like these and constantly telling myself "no excuses" that made me feel so terrible for doing something as simple and necessary as taking care of myself. I routinely workout for at least 30 minutes 5 days per week and there's nothing wrong with that. Just because I'm not actively "training" doesn't mean that I'm a failure, quitter or loser. It doesn't make my workout any less valid than the aspiring Ironman. We're just in different places and I'm doing pretty damn well for where I am. I don't do long runs during the week because I have to do homework and go to class. I do the elliptical, walk or cycle more often than I run or swim because I usually read for school while working out. I realize 30 or 40 minutes on the elliptical or an hour on the bike isn't as impressive as a 10 mile run or 2 mile swim but it's what I can do for right now and it'll have to be good enough. Do the best you can for you and make sure you're realistic about what is a valid excuse and what is just laziness. And you know what, if you just don't feel like it sometimes, that's ok too. 



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