Janine says I should write an article on running discipline. She’s a lot better than me at discipline, but I’ll give it a shot.
First: checking in. I have run twice since my public declaration to get “Fit by Forty”. It was dark and raining both times, but thanks to our shiny new treadmill (won by my wonderful wife!!) I ran in the warmth and comfort of my basement, watching Netflix to help pass the time. Today I will run again for the third time. We’re out tonight until about 9:30, so I’ll have to do another late-night run, although this time I plan to go outside.
I’m only on my third run and I am tempted by thoughts of skipping it, “just this one time”. This is the hardest thing I’ve found about running in the past: it is very hard to consistently muster the discipline to run even when I don’t feel like it.
The biggest struggle for me is that, at least for now, running is a painful and very unpleasant experience. I feel sweaty and hurty all over. On my last workout I chose a program on the treadmill that was too hard for me, and I felt like I might indeed die before the workout was over. I kept checking my heart rate and wondering if my heart was going to explode. I imagined dropping dead. The treadmill would cheerily toss my sweaty corpse against the basement wall where I would lie, rigor mortis contorting my limbs. Janine would find me in the morning I would be a mangled mass, and then, boy, she’d be sorry.
My imagination skills are a lot stronger than my discipline skills.
I always start a new fitness routine with great enthusiasm, and it only takes a few hard workouts for my visions of the New Slim Trim Me to fade into the background as I realize how much work it is to move from fat to fit. Running especially requires an immense amount of discipline to keep going. When I run I am chasing my own discipline, and I’m not sure I’m going to catch it. At least this time I am also being chased by the social pressure I have brought on myself by making this process so public.
Janine constantly impresses me with her seemingly endless stores of self-discipline. She gets up most mornings at 5:30am to go run or swim. When she races, she often pushes herself to near-exhaustion by the finish line. I really appreciate that about her, because she’s so different from me. I am (to put it mildly) not exactly a disciplined guy. I’m creative guy! a critical thinker! an imaginative fellow! …but not so great when it comes to doing some chore reliably and consistently.
Running is going to take some real discipline on my part. I hope I can do it this time.
P.S. I take great comfort in the kind comments that many of you surprised me with on Janine’s facebook. Thanks!
P.P.S. Janine says this post is not very encouraging, and re-reading, I see that she’s right—it is a little depressing. Sorry about that… so let me put a positive spin: I have run twice and am going to do my third run today. Hooray for my running discipline so far!!