Fitness Friday | Frequency & Consistency

When I started running a couple of years ago, my goal was to run (or do some type of aerobic exercise – at the time I was also doing the Shred) at least 3 times a week.

As a result, I averaged about 2 times a week.

Sure, some weeks I would run 3 or 4 times, but usually it was 2 and often even 1.

I can find almost any excuse not to exercise — too hot, too cold, too sunny, too windy, too tired, too early, too late.

You get the idea.

Then I started working with a trainer  2 times a week last fall, lifting weights and doing TRX.

Soon after I started weight training, my knee complaints resurfaced. They weren’t debilitating, just annoying. I’ve done the ice thing, and sometimes I would take a few days break in between runs, hoping to allow them to recover.

I continued to run a couple times a week, but one day not too long ago, my trainer challenged me to start running 5 or 6 times a week.

I had been complaining about the pesky pounds that won’t budge and that roll that suddenly seems to be a permanent fixture around my midsection. (We are our own worst critics, yes?) Rather than lecturing, she told me the story of a former client who was much like me — about my age, not an athlete, not really overweight, but just not in shape — and started to come to the gym something like 5 days a week and how she transformed her body over a period of just a few months.

Then she encouraged me to start running more. A lot more. As in, almost every day.

She promised that after a few weeks of that kind of consistency, I would not like how I feel on the days that I don’t exercise and I’d want to keep it up.

She also predicted that the nagging knee complaints that I’d been having would actually improve with more consistent exercise. She actually blamed the fact that I was so inconsistent about my workouts for causing the issues — the exact opposite of what I assumed (that I needed to rest it more in between).

SO.

I figured I had nothing to lose, and I went for it.

Knowing that if my goal was 5 days, I’d end up running 3, I decided my goal was to run every. single. day. Then when I miss a day here and there due to rain or laziness or what-have-you, I am still getting in 5 or 6 runs a week.

It worked.

I get up every day, planning to run. I put on workout clothes first thing in the morning so that I’m one step closer to getting off my duff and stepping outside whenever I have a spare 30 minutes. I have been averaging 5 times a week, 30-45 minutes a run.

I feel great. 

Not only do I feel empowered and athletic, but my knee complaints have lessened (as predicted) and I really DO notice a difference on the days I don’t run. I feel more sluggish, less energized, less productive.

I thought I’d get really tired of running if I ran every day, but that hasn’t been the case at all. I’m learning that the power of the mind is a lot stronger than I realized. Mind over matter isn’t just a nifty saying; there’s a lot of truth to it.

Have I lost that “last 5 lbs”? Well, no. But the truth is, I like my snacks too much. And maybe I just need to be okay with that.

I do think I notice a difference in the way my clothes fit, even though I haven’t lost any weight. I’m looking FOUR-OH right in the eye, and I guess we all have to make some concessions to age. I’m not going down without a fight, but I know when to compromise.

For now, I’m happy with the way I feel, and that’s enough. I have never been an athlete, and I probably will never consider myself an athlete. But I’m not giving in to the ticking of the clock either. I’m determined to stay fit and active so I can keep up with my kids — and that is no small feat!