Stepping up my Jogging Habit

I don’t tend to post much about my fitness and running on here.  That’s because it usually involves me going through a training plan, solo, on a mixture of indoor treadmill and outdoor pavements, which lets be honest, is rather dull and terribly boring most of the time.

However I have noticed something about my behaviour around fitness that I thought I’d share…

Not doing any exercise is 100x’s worse than pushing yourself and working through the plan.

And that is the truth!

Let me tell you a quick story – up to heading off to America I religiously jogged three times per week for about 8 weeks.  After that my habit got disturbed by the holiday and I realised I was quickly falling back out of my fitness routine.

I began to actually tell myself it was okay to miss a session because I wasn’t feeling well, or because it wasn’t a Tuesday.  Then I found the excuses moved away from those ones and moved onto the ‘I am trying other exercise’, such as weights which I enjoy but because I didn’t actually have a full proof, written down plan, also started to wander.

Then, after just a mere three weeks people I know started to notice my jogging absence.  They’d ask ‘was I still jogging’, or ‘had I got bored of jogging?’.

Then finally the boss asked why I wasn’t jogging, had I got bored of it?  And I said yes, I had.

But the problem was, as soon as I said I was bored of it, made a statement out loud –  I instantly missed it.  How odd is that?

I realise that I missed having the routine of the jog and all that goes with it (including better sleep).  I also realised that I missed the challenge I’d been giving myself before the holiday of continually beating my speed and/or distance.

The Story Continues…

There was another reason I’d stopped which was that I’d been talking about running a half marathon.

But, somewhere between me talking about it and nights of jaded sleep I’d turned it into a full blown, signed up affair, in my head.  One in which I was already failing.  So sub-consciously I noticed myself putting distance between me and my jogging.

Of course what I had actually started to formulate was to just get to the half-marathon distance.  Nothing else, just that.  So with that pressure taken off I decided to start a new jogging schedule.

My behaviour around keeping healthy and fit continues to challenge me. I don’t mind the challenges because I’m more confidant than I was a year ago that if I do stand still long enough I’ll jolt myself right out of it sooner rather than later.

The Theory of My Fitness

I’m not competitive so the idea around entering marshalled events scares the crap out of me, but at the same time my fear of coming last would be enough to ensure I would at least train as hard as I could (so why am I scared?).

It’s also odd because in my head, the distance isn’t the issue so much as making sure my head is where my body is in relation to dealing with the distance.  In other words I’ll happily work my way up to 13 miles on my own but the minute I’m involved with an event my brain goes to pieces and I’ve totally convinced myself I can’t do it before I’ve even started it.

This is apparently called a belief system and it’s what makes you and me think the way we do, and in most cases the beliefs limit your full potential because you or me absolutely believe, without conviction that we can’t do something before we’ve even started.

Why do I think I’ll fail?  Where has this belief (because I do believe it) come from?  All these beliefs (good and bad) come from a trigger way back when in my history.

So I’ve been hunting my belief systems down to try and see why the key ingredients of group and event and me don’t go well.

Defining it even further it’s not even group that’s the issue – I’m great in groups, love team work so it’s not that.  It’s me working on my own within a organised event that appears to be the key, even though logically there are others around at the same time.

I think it might come down to my introverted behaviour again.

It’s all the little parts of the event that freak me out.  Such as knowing where I’ll need to go, having to speak to strangers in very informal ways, being surrounded by people at times throughout the event but never speaking to them, or worse speaking to them when I’m in the worse possibly situation for coming up with chit-chat.

You could of course ask why don’t I bring a friend along with me to ease the ‘awkwardness’ of my situation but I don’t want to.  It would just add to my stress because I’d be looking out for them and not me the whole time which is fine but I am basically very selfish when it comes to most types of exercise and I want to spend the time with me, not others.

And very often while I’ve shattered a lot of my inaccurate beliefs about myself (being able to jog continuously for over an hour is just one, loosing two stone in weight another) I find a big jump in challenge is simply too much for me (mentally rather than physically).

I’m what they call cautious to the point of not getting things achieved.

As a detailed thinker you can imagine I’ve gone over this issue of mine a 1,000000000 times now and ever so often I’ll buffer myself with the same question – do I want to run in an organised event to prove I can make the distance, or to prove I can work through my personality issues around failing in front of others?

And you know what, rather than psycho analyse it every night I’ve decided to just head into the void and go for it.  That way I’ll get a race under my belt and possibly, just possibly get over one negative belief system about myself.

Do other runners, athletes and sports people have these kind of thoughts and problems like I do?   What exercise really challenges you and how do you find yourself reacting to it?  Please share below, I’d be genuinely interested to hear your stories.


Cover photo courtesy of Robert S. Donovan


8 responses to “Stepping up my Jogging Habit

  1. I could write many words about running, not because I am a great athlete but because I have run many miles over the years. Almost every step has been a battle. I haven’t run for a while and I miss it, I miss the buzz I miss the firmer body I miss the pushing limits. I have run 4 half marathons and it felt so good when it was over! Please read What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami and I think you will see all runners, hare or tortoise, have similar thoughts. You have inspired me to get my trainers out again.

    • It’s great to hear from a ‘pro’, honestly – 4 half marathons, that’s very impressive.
      I’ll be sure to check the book out, thanks for letting me know and I’m pleased to hear you’re getting your trainers out again – it is rather addictive! 🙂

  2. I have never found the nerve to do an organized race solo. Not knowing where to go, having to talk to so many new people, being out of my element, etc. is not worth it for me when I can go run alone. I’ve always signed up with an acquaintance (who, thinking about it now, has ended up being three different people -all very comfortable in such situations.)

    Signing up for a new soccer team breeds less anxiety (although still some) but at least I can show up, gear up, get asked once my name and positional skills, and then be silent for 90 minutes 🙂

    • I am so pleased to hear it’s not just me that feels that way about running. There is something about the solitude of running/jogging that I deeply enjoy.
      I used to enjoy playing football (soccer), many moons ago. That kind of team work adds excitement without the time for chit-chat that makes me concentrate so hard I can’t seem to do anything else!

      • That’s what I love about still playing. There are so few things that turn off my brain the way soccer does, and it’s so nice to be so focused and engaged without conscious verbal brain energy.

  3. I love running. I’ve only ever run just over 5k, but I love it and (when not injured – grrrr achilles tendonitis) do it three times a week with pleasure. When I mention my running to anybody, they instantly ask me if I’m training for a race. My answer is always a resounding ‘no’. It’s therapy, a lovely solitary workout, not a race and not something I really care to share with other people. Perhaps in the name of pushing boundaries etc I’ll do it one day, just to say I’ve done it. Perhaps. Or perhaps not… 🙂

    • Hi Adele. I had never thought of it like that. You’re right though, something that is so personal to you should be enjoyed solitary, if that is what it entails.
      I’m pleased to hear I’m not the only one that’s not into races 🙂

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