February 19, 2012

Partners in Fitness

We all have a lot of time constraints.  Some days I’m challenged with trying to factor in bathroom breaks once or twice during the day, let alone exercising.  That being said, I have transitioned myself from a person who wondered if she would exercise to one who plans out when she will exercise.  Something that has really helped me with figuring out when I will exercise is that I have a small network of workout friends/buddies with whom I can run or bike.  It makes long workouts more bearable and much safer.  It also builds in the accountability that one might need to ensure a workout actually happens.  After all, if you tell someone you will meet them at 7:00 am for that 3 mile run, you are much less likely to bail out when the alarm goes off.  I have also signed up for different group sessions at the YMCA not only to learn more about a particular event or workout routine, but also to meet other adults that are interested in a fit healthy lifestyle.

My wish for you is that you find at least one other like-minded person with whom you can run, bike, swim, aerobicize, kickbox, etc.  It helps if the person is not only like-minded, but also “like-bodied”….not that you look alike physically, but that you have similar abilities and physical goals.  Try to find someone that you will feel comfortable running with (e.g. not too fast, not too slow, not too chatty, or not too silent) or that has similar goals (wants to exercise to lose weight or wants to run in her first race this summer).  I have met some really great people and enjoy meeting up with them to train now – I have learned a lot from every person that I have met.
When you are looking for a buddy, it doesn’t have to be a friend that you are coercing to exercise….I’ve actually found this approach to be less successful.  One of the best ways to meet people is through a running group either with an organization like the YMCA, a fitness center, or a running club in your area.  It seems really intimidating at first, but the reality is that all sorts of people are runners.  You don’t have to be really fast or able to run long distances to be in a group.  Many of the groups cater to Newbies and will have beginner training sessions to ease you into the group.  It’s a great way to get started and to meet other people.  Even if you don’t stick with the particular group, you might meet someone or hear of other opportunities in the community.
It may take awhile, but you will find the right person or group…..whatever you do, try to build yourself a network.
Walking the (active) Talk:  Here’s my small, but growing, network (names have been abbreviated to protect the innocent): B – running buddy in my rural neck of the woods, early AM/weekend motivator; K – fellow triathlete, swimmer, and mom on the east side of town; G – fellow triathlete, running buddy on the north side of town; T and L – for out of town training (especially in VA J); B and L – haven’t actually trained with them, but great role models/sources of info for fitness; S – cyclist on the east side of town; YMCA – running group, spinning classes, TRX; CNY Triathlon Club – a great resource and endless supply of opportunities to train and meet other athletes.

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