Something unexpected (at least to me) happened last month. I usually do some 10-15 minutes of thread-mill running at the gym to warm-up. I’ve been running these 10-15 minutes for a long time, and I never thought I could do more. I’ll explain why.
I actually practice swimming as my main exercise. I started swimming 4 years ago due to medical recommendation (I used to have a serious chronic back pain), and swimming regularly changed my life. I began to take physical exercise pretty seriously, because I felt the direct good results it had in my life. And about a year ago I started to go to the gym also, for overall muscle strengthening and to complement swimming. The two exercises complement each other perfectly and after this combined scheme I got even better and now all my back pains are gone.
Okay, now back to the present. This month a challenge at my gym was proposed: running the distance equivalent to up to 4 marathons during the month of June, and for each marathon completed there was a small prize. And I said to myself: I’m going for it! My goal was to complete 1 marathon (approx. 42 km). See, I don’t go to the gym every single day, so for me completing one marathon was quite challenging.
So there I was, ready to break my record at the thread-mill! And I discovered something curious about running: if you find your rhythm, it seems you can go on running forever! Okay, not forever, but on that particular rhythm you can run longer than you think. I started with 1.5 km, and gradually increased some 500 meters each time I ran. I ended up running 5 km during 35 minutes in my few last sessions. And I beat that marathon! Yay! My Accumulated distance ran this month: 45.8 km.
There are some apps and even social networks out there that help to keep track of exercises distances, time, speed and even calories burned. Not so long ago I started using Endomondo to track my physical activities. I like it because it is simple, it is community based, it works on my phone with GPS tracking and it has the option to manually add an activity without tracking. But just a warning, it can be addictive (in a good way)! I even started to track my everyday walking distances, when I have to go somewhere in my neighborhood or downtown.
And as a result I learned some lessons:
- Goal achievement: Setting up a goal really helps! And adding a minor incentive in the end works too! (in my case it was a chocolate bar, heh)
- Tracking: Keeping track of distances is fun and a great fuel to keep going!
- Focusing: Exercise is a great way to forget about the world and focus on ourselves. It’s amazing to get rid of stress!
Well, it wasn’t a super easy task. And it wasn’t that hard, also. It requires just a little bit of focus. I had to let go of one or two of my leisure activities, because I ended up spending more time at the gym than usual.