Pursuing Running Discipline

Posted by | October 23, 2013 | Fit by Forty | 6 Comments
Running Discipline

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!!

James Moffett

About James Moffett

I'm married to Janine and constantly amazed at her energy and enthusiasm, not only as it relates to her running! This year I've started to run again (after a long hiatus) as I pursue a personal goal to get "Fit by Forty". I'm a web designer by day and I'm the guy who makes this site work, and the guy to blame when it isn't working. I'm especially excited that Janine and I have been able to combine our interests (running and web design) for this site!


  • Hi James, keep going, there’s a bunch of us cheering you on. This is the worst time of year for me, I’m looking at you Halloween, and if you can get out there in the dark and rain, I have no reason not to.

    Oh and critical thinking, creativity and discipline aren’t mutually exclusive. I would argue that they complement each other. My creative juices really start flowing during runs which need discipline.

  • James Moffett James Moffett says:

    Thanks Richard! Appreciate it. And I totally agree that creativity & discipline aren’t mutually exclusive. I just “flex” my creative muscles a lot, and have neglected the discipline muscles, so they’re kinda weak and puny. BUT THAT ALL ENDS NOW!!

  • Sonny says:

    Hey James,

    Just ease into it the first couple weeks until you get into your groove. You will find time, you will want to work out. It becomes addictive.
    Plus, You have the best help that I know. Janine helped me drop 20 pounds and complete a half ironman. I have all the confidence that you’ll reach your goals and do amazing things.

    And in terms of getting creative, netflix and the treadmill could be the key. You could watch the shows you enjoy on those crummy days.



    • James Moffett James Moffett says:

      Yeah, I’m looking forward to “wanting” to work out. I’ve never quite made it to that stage before, because the pain always felt greater than the gain. But I’m much more motivated this time around!

  • Chrisitne says:

    You don’t have to want to go for a run when its time… you just have to go. Several years ago I lost a lot of weight. Remember that 80% of weight loss is what you put in your mouth- only the 20 belongs to excercise!

    • James Moffett James Moffett says:

      Going for a run even when you don’t want to—that’s exactly the discipline that I have a hard time getting a handle on! Then you’re telling me I need extra discipline with what I eat?! Oh man!!

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