Make It Happen Monday – Remember Your Reasons

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I recently received a great question from one of my most involved and inspirational clients. What started out as a relatively simple question on programming got me thinking a bit and really provided me with a light smack in the face regarding why we do things at Relentless, or why I do anything, for that matter.

With her encouragement I’ll post the exchange here:

“Isaac, I have a serious training question. Do you remember when Alex Viada and you said at the strength seminar that a person should always have a training goal when s/he goes out for a run? My question is, are the goals of getting some sun and air; getting my head on straight; and something small like practicing recovering on the run, legitimate? My running is so sporadic right now that a 4-miler feels like what 10 felt like last September; so just going out and getting that four miles in — not even doing it fast, just getting it done — seems like a major accomplishment. But if it would be more legitimate to do a shorter distance faster, or a shorter run with some bodyweight exercise intervals in it, I would do that instead. ~Awesome Client”

Hey Awesome Client!

I thought long and hard about my response here, not because it’s complex, but because I wanted to best communicate it:

Exercise, for the sake of getting some sun and air, is the most pure form of exercise. It is the nirvana that you’re looking for.

If that is what you need, to find an exercise session enjoyable simply for the sake of enjoyment, then that is absolutely “a purpose”.

Understand that within that purpose it may or may not affect some of your other training sessions. There are always trade-offs in life and in training. ****Personally I think that a smooth four-miler probably isn’t going to affect your other training sessions much, but everyone is different****

Take a step back and remember why you’re doing all of this in the first place:

To feel good.

We get so caught up in the performance numbers and metrics because we want to lift a certain weight, run a certain time, or swim a certain distance that we forget why 99.9% of us (professional athletes aside) set those goals in the first place. To feel good.

If the occasional “get out there and run” does that for you, then who are you or I to deny it?

Isaac”

What struck me about the question was that a) I have a very dedicated client and student (which I knew), but also b) My answer was going to govern whether or not someone went out and did what, by pretty much all accounts, would be a healthy activity that they truly enjoyed. Who was I to say that, in the absence of some sort of very strict competitive goal, that they shouldn’t do that?

Unless you’re paid to train or are on that particular track, and thus subject to different training motivations, then the entire reason you’re exercising in the first place has to do with making your life better. Whether it’s through greater health or the satisfaction and endorphins of exercise itself the only reason you should be doing it is to feel good. To do it just do it or to lose sight of that is a damn shame and sometimes we all need a reminder.

It’s Make It Happen Monday, and I’m going to challenge you to step back a little bit and make sure that your activities are squared up with what you actually want to accomplish: Feeling good. If that’s the case, then have at it. If not, then maybe you need to make some adjustments.

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