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Creating My New Habit

Category : Active Living, Exercise

by Karin Jennings

I know, I’m a personal trainer, so how could I not have an exercise habit? Well. Here’s my confession, lately I have been too busy…at least that was my reason. I have an active lifestyle, I am on my feet when I’m at the studio and have been a weekend warrior (mostly mountain biking and canoeing) but I haven’t been doing anything very consistent in the past few years. Yes, I’d been feeling guilty about it, but not enough to change anything.

Here’s how it happened:

First, I registered for an event. Ryan and I registered for the Southern Kettle Moraine Challenge about 2 months prior to the event. I knew that I did not have a lot of time to improve my fitness for this 10 hour adventure race.

I established a schedule: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and a time of day: immediately after I get the kids off to school. I quickly discovered that it was important to dress in my running clothes so that after I walked my daughter to school I did not have to stop home to put on my running shoes or eat because I’d get distracted with housework or email and end up blowing so much time I’d have skip my run.

I was worried about starting up a running program, I’ve started and quit due to injuries plenty of times. This time was different…I started out slow. Instead of over-doing it I started with a walk/run plan and gradually increased the amount of time I spent running. The every other day schedule gave me a day to recover if I was sore.

I also told two people about my running plan. First, I told my husband and teammate, Ryan not to worry I was “in-training” for this event and I’d be ready. I also emailed him every morning after my run just to tell him that I did it. The other person who knew my schedule (and you’re going to laugh) was the crossing guard at the school. One day she noticed I was not wearing running clothes and asked about it. Since it was a Thursday I explained that I run every other day. Guess what? It made me feel compelled to put my running clothes on the next morning so she’d know I was sticking to plan. Now she always comments on the weather or says, “nice day for a run”.

Last but not least, I rediscovered that the statement “you’re only one workout away from a good mood” is so true! I know this from past experience, but had been ignoring it because I was so busy! I definitely get more done on the days that I start out with a run.

What’s really amazing is that the race was over two weeks ago and I am still running! I thought for sure I’d quit as soon as the race was over because getting in shape for the race would no longer be a priority, but the habit has been established and I love the endorphins!

As we approach the winter months I am not sure if I will be able to continue running outdoors. I may have to reconsider my mode of exercise, but very motivated to establish a new winter exercise habit now that I’ve gained so much ground! I promise to get back to you and tell you what I’m doing for the winter soon…see, I just did it again, promised you something which will force me into action!!

Ryan & Karin after 10 hour Adventure Race…still smiling!

Summary of ways to create a new exercise habit:

  • Register for an event (now I am registered for the Turkey Trot!)
  • Schedule it (both day & time)
  • Tell someone who will hold you accountable
  • Start slow so you don’t get injured
  • Don’t stop home…avoid distractions
  • Notice how great you feel on days you workout