I wanted to take a moment and dive a little deeper into how I used to train (incorrectly) and how that has made me the trainer I am today.
As I may have mentioned before, my first run after years of smoking, drinking, and Taco Bell lunches was about 1.5 miles and TERRIBLE. That first run sucked so bad, and hurt so much, that the first thing I did before brewing my coffee and getting ready for work was smoke another cigarette. Despite my years spent running track and cross country, in that moment I thought I had no business calling myself a runner ever again. Luckily, I had a little bit of coaching from my high school days that I could latch onto, to recognize that maybe I needed a slightly more structured approach to training. I knew that not exercising was not an option, nor was winging it. But what could I do to make it not suck?
Fast forward a few years and a very bold but ill-advised decision to run a marathon; I learned the hard way that only running more and faster wasn’t the path to running happiness. All I was doing was chasing paces and finishes because I thought that if running was good for losing weight and improving fitness, running more had to be better. But when I couldn’t walk down a flight of stairs without a railing for two weeks after that first marathon, I knew I still had some work to do. I had friends that ran multiple marathons a year, some even running one every month, and here I was, wishing for a leg transplant. As it turns out, just piling on the miles wasn’t enough to make running a sustainable, or enjoyable part of my life.
Not long after this point is when I contemplated hiring a coach versus doing things on my own. I stumbled upon the middle ground that would lead me to the reason I'm able to do what I do today: I went to school for personal training so I could learn how to train smarter, and in the process, help others do the same. When I thought I had a grasp on things, I signed up for my first 50K trail race. But old habits die hard and I still trained on the old model of trying to accumulate mileage a speed week after week. I completed the race but not without some mental and physical battle scars.
It was then that I realized my goals had to be more than static finish lines, but ever-evolving portraits of the person I wanted to be. A strong woman and mother. An adventurer. Someone who could see the grandest sites by foot instead of tour bus.
Through time and patience I learned that if I wanted to run well, and more importantly ENJOY the benefits of covering ridiculous distances on foot, it had to be about so much more than losing weight or reaching a finish line in a certain time. It was the old mindset about what fitness and working out was supposed to look and feel like that lead me to make several of the mistakes that I now use as lessons and examples for my clients today.
My first mistake was always trying to make each workout hard, thinking that I had to just get used to it in order to improve. What I didn’t know was how and why physical adaptations take place and how to best facilitate that. My second mistake was thinking that if each run wasn’t faster than the one before, I would never be a faster runner. What I didn’t know was that only training harder and faster with no break would lead to injury and burnout. My third mistake was constantly fretting about accumulative mileage, thinking that if I didn’t hit every single distance on my cherry-picked training plans that I would surely fail. What I didn’t know is that the body can bank strength and endurance over time, and that a missed workout wouldn’t be a major setback.
To put it simply, I had to calm the hell down and take things one step at a time.
And now, that is exactly how I help my clients. When my clients come to me, they are frustrated with where they are with their fitness, and sometimes with their lives. I can give them the tools to break down every challenge in a way that can give them a sense of control and forward progress for weeks and months to come. Physically, we all know our bodies are capable of so much more than we give them credit for, but it’s the mental game that really keeps us moving. I help my clients learn to move with control, purpose and intention so that they can find the perfect balance of effort and ease to achieve their goals as part of a permanent healthy lifestyle.
Take a look at the chart below and see if any of the thoughts in the old training mindset resonate with you. If so, leave a comment below or reach out to me on Facebook or Instagram!