Photo Credit: Gareth 1953Guest Post By Megan White
Running (or not) seems to be a theme this week! And don't forget we're giving away some Altra Zero-Drop shoes (and it's not too late to enter).
While some of us suffer from injuries that make running a Bad Idea and a source of angst, jealousy, and whining, for most people, running is a Good Idea! But... even if you are physically able to run, how the heck do you motivate yourself to do it?
This guest post is by our Paleo Pal Megan White, who has a new book out called The Ten Running Commandments and who has already shared a post with us on Losing Weight on a Paleo Diet. She is an enthusiastic runner, and has some tips to share!-- Crabby
The words we tell ourselves can make or break us.
These words can be positive. They can take you from your bed in the early morning to the dark streets, allowing you to burn off a couple hundred calories before the day ahead (and fitting you up with hours of endorphins to get you through the early-morning blues).
Alternately, these words can be negative. They can keep you strapped to your couch, a bag of potato chips in your hand, and thoughts of Netflix humming in your head. We’ve all been there. (Sadly, just three days of this attitude can get me up-to-date on full seasons of House of Cards.)
Ultimately, the choice is yours. How are you going to speak to yourself to get yourself out the door, ready to reap the many benefits of running (or walking! Or elliptical-ing! Or whatever!)? How are you going to speak to yourself to make good dinner recipe choices, rather than heading out to that (all-too-delicious) Chinese restaurant down the street? How can you burst beyond these running roadblocks, get your tennies on your feet, and dart down the road (whatever mp3 of your choice bumping in your ear)?
You must conquer the running roadblocks. Here is an excerpt from my newly-published book: The Ten Running Commandments. These are based off my long, tireless courtship with running. (Will they? Won’t they? So many said of running and I. Ultimately, our relationship has stood the test of time!)
1. The Motivation Technician.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to build the motivation to get yourself out the door. If you’re lacking the motivation to succeed, remember the wonderful benefits of running.
cartoon credit: xkcd
A. Continuous calorie-burning power. That’s right. When you exercise, you’re burning calories the entire time. But running allows that calorie burning to continue on. This is called “afterburn.” As long as you run with at least 70 percent of your inner power during your exercise, you’ll have afterburn for about three hours. This occurs while you’re sitting around, smiling like a goon because the endorphins are rollicking through your body. This brings me to my next point:
B. Running makes you smile. Like an idiot. Sometimes, when I’m running down the road, I get weird looks. But I can’t help it! A physiological behavior study noted that when you run, your brain’s neurochemical activities make it seem like you’re on drugs. It’s like a reward system, without the negative side effects and the illegality. For just the cost of a pair of shoes and a bit of time on the tread or on the trail, insane giddiness can be yours. You’re welcome!
2. Tricking Yourself Out the Door.
No matter how long you’ve been running, it can still be very difficult to lace up those sneakers and hit the pavement (especially in the dead of this ever-grey winter). This is what I do:
A. I put on my running clothes about thirty minutes before I’m planning to go running. This way, I’m forcing my brain to get used to the idea. “This is it, brain and feet. We’re going out there. I don’t care that it’s 15 degrees. We’re going to do it, and we’re going to like it.”
Plus, I’d feel too embarrassed in front of my dog if I took off my running clothes, donned my ice cream cone pajama pants, and started House of Cards again, without running. I’d know; my dog would know. And that self-esteem would nose-dive between the couch pillows.
B. I always have a weekly running mileage goal. In the summer, it’s usually around 35 miles a week. In the winter—it’s less. Usually, I aim for 20. My ridiculous winter running gear includes my mom’s mittens from the 70’s and a very large college sweatshirt. I don’t look good, but again: I’m smiling.
C. I tell myself I’m only going for a walk. I start out there in the cold, feeling good about moving. And then I start thinking: if I just ran one mile, then I could maybe have that afterburn I love so much; I could maybe work off that burrito from yesterday. I start thinking that maybe running wouldn’t be so bad. And then, before I know it, I’m at home, grinning like an idiot. What just happened? I tricked myself into running. And I’ll do it again!
So anyway, guys. I’ve had my running roadblocks, and I continue to pound beyond them, every single day. I could talk about form all day; about building speed; about building miles. But I think the core of every runner’s problem is motivation and finding your own version of success. Good luck in your exercising endeavors!