I have some friends who love to run. And when I say love, I mean “get up long before the sun in all types of weather and hit the road or trail for 5, 10, 15, 35 or more miles each time they lace up their running shoes. These are my friends who run a 5k for speed, a 10k for training, and a multiple marathons a year. Some of my friends are even good enough to run the Boston Marathon…multiple times! So, when these friends invite me to run or sign up for a race, how can I say no? After all, I’m a trainer and a coach and what trainer doesn’t love to run? The answer?
A few years ago the inevitable invitation to run the Walla Walla Half Marathon came my way. Now you need to understand a little backstory before I go on. I ran the Walla Walla Half Marathon back in 2012. That was my first year to ever run anything competitively so I ran a 5k, 10k and Half Marathon that year. While I accomplished the goals I set I learned a lot, most notably this: My body and running do not get along. After each run I was too sore for too long. Recovery was diminished. I gained weight, I gained body fat and I was injured. It took the next 12 months for me to recover from Achilles Tendinitis. Needless to say, I hung up my running shoes.
Until a few weeks later when I said “yes” to the invitation to run again. Like last time I used the Hal Higdon running app to help me know what to do and how much to run each day. It’s a great tool and one I highly recommend. A couple of weeks into my training the fun and joy of running subsided. Even with great playlists to accompany me, each step became torturous and I was getting a very familiar feeling in my calves that felt a lot like the beginning of an injury. So I slowed down. The next time I ran I pulled a hamstring. Needless to say my running shoes are once again on the shelf.
Why do I tell you this story? Well, I began asking myself and some of my colleagues the following questions:
After working with individuals and groups for the last 20 years I know the answers to these questions but the answers are more anecdotal and soft science than hard and cold facts. Each person is drawn to a certain type of movement. Take my running friends, for example. When I invite them to certain group exercise classes they balk and look at me like I’ve lost my mind. Is it because the exercise is inherently bad? No. It’s just how they’re wired. Ask someone who is drawn to Yoga or Pilates to start power lifting and the response will be the same. That’s not to say you shouldn’t try new workouts. I absolutely advocate trying new ways to mix up your fitness plan. But, I strongly believe that if you don’t love, or at least like the exercise you’ve chosen, there is no way you’ll continue.
So why do we do the exercises we do?
Because they make us feel good in body, mind and soul. Runners run because they love it. Dancers dance because it brings them joy, freedom and expression. Power lifters lift because they feel empowered and strong. Is every exercise right for every body? No. But there is an exercise that is right for each person.
So go experiment. Try a new group exercise class. Lace up your shoes for a hike. Get on a bike and hit the road. The point is to find a type of movement that enhances your life and makes you feel alive and one that you’ll come back to, not because you have to, but because you want to.
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Simply put, I love life. I love the body, all things healthy, all types of movement and a good belly laugh. My hope is to share some of my experience and knowledge with you so that you can love YOUR life and be an influencer of others.
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Building a StoryBrand with Donald Miller