Because sometimes it’s OK to start over

I don’t think there’s any word that strikes up a more boring image in the world of physical fitness than the dreaded “treadmill.” So actually writing a blog post about running on a treadmill has to be the most yawn-inducing idea ever.

But bear with me, friends, because today I’m doing just that. And who knows. Maybe this blog post is just what you needed to read today!

One of the more difficult aspects of the health journey I’ve been traveling this past year is its unpredictability. For several days, sometimes even several weeks, I will feel great. I’m back to my old energetic self, my mind is focused and creative, and my body is functioning normally. Then, without warning, and often without an obvious trigger, I sink into a difficult place. My digestive system is a mess, I’m exhausted and lethargic, my brain is foggy, and I have trouble focusing.

Sadly, the past few weeks have been a low energy place for me. When I’m in this state, I can sleep for 10 hours at night and still want to take a nap the next day. I can eat a perfect diet of nutrient rich foods and still dread walking up the stairs because it leaves me panting for breath. I basically have to conserve my energy for what most needs to be done, and any thought of exercise gets pushed to the back of my mind.

But this morning, I woke up feeling good, and I wanted to get back to starting my day with some not-too-strenuous physical activity. At the beginning of the year, I began doing the Couch to 5K on my treadmill. You’ve probably heard of the Couch to 5K. It’s a simple running program that alternates short increments of jogging and walking. You start the program with more walking than jogging, but by the end of the nine-week program, you should be able to run a complete 5K!

Because of my ups and downs, I haven’t been totally consistent. But I have done the workout enough that I made it to Week 5, Day 3. This is the day when I was supposed to do a 5-minute walk, followed by 20 minutes of running and then a 5-minute cool down. It was the first day that I basically was supposed to jog the entire time, rather than alternating between jogging and walking.

It’s been more than two weeks since I did Week 5, Day 2. I looked at my treadmill, and I couldn’t imagine getting back on at this stage in the game.

“I should probably just give up the Couch to 5K,” I told myself. “I will never be able to do it.”

But then I had an idea that probably sounds very obvious to all of my intelligent readers, but took some time for me to come up with.

I could start over.

That’s right.

I could go back to the beginning.

Back to Day One.

Getting back on the treadmill: because sometimes it's OK to start over

That’s exactly what I did this morning, and here’s what I gained.

  1. I couldn’t believe how easy it was! I remembered doing Week 1, Day 1 back in January and how I was counting down the seconds each time I had to jog for one minute before walking for 90 seconds. Now, it was such a breeze that I kept losing track of time. I felt great, knowing how far I’ve come in such a short amount of time.
  2. Instead of feeling defeated by the treadmill, I actually felt a great sense of accomplishment that I had completed my workout. It might not have been the workout I had been planning, but I did it!
  3. Most importantly, I did something. And something is always better than nothing.

I started the morning feeling healthier and stronger. I’m getting my energy back, and thankful to be back on the treadmill. So, if you ever feel like giving up, just remember the lessons my treadmill taught me this morning. Something is better than nothing. And sometimes it’s OK to start over.

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I would love to hear how your week is going! Have you ever had to start over on a goal or plan? What was it like for you? 

3 Responses

  1. Holly

    I think I was well into my 40s before it occurred to me that when I was tired during a run, I could walk for a while and then start jogging again. It was a novel thought, and a new one for this all-or-nothing thinker. I get you.

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