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Getting Into the Exercise Groove

It’s easy to start exercising. It’s just a challenge to keep exercising. As I continue to share some of my story here, I will pass on things I’ve learned. Remember, I’m no expert, and I’m also no athlete. Yet I’ve continued an exercise plan for more than a year at this point. (As always, you should always check with your doctor before starting an exercise plan.)

I started exercising because I was worried I wouldn’t be able to swim the 1500 meters required in the NYC Triathlon. Honestly? I was scared. No, make that SCARED. I am a swimmer, but always in pools. It had been years since I swam in open water. But I started out by getting 10 laps in. Then 10 laps swimming, four laps kicking and four laps just pulling. Then I’d add another 10 laps of swimming. I inched my way to the 1500 meter mark.

Then I committed to the whole thing. And I was even more afraid—still am, in fact. Because I am just. Not. A. Runner. Period. I didn’t like it. I’d tried building up to a decent distance before, but I couldn’t do it. Then someone sent me to a site called Couch to 5K. Or as I called it, Couch Potato to 5K.

I struggled through 60 seconds of running on my first day. Absolutely struggled. That was alternated with 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. And just like the swimming, the program inched me forward. I never exercised on a day I didn’t have to. I never ran longer than I had to, no matter how good I felt. But I also never quit. As slow as I am, I just kept thinking to myself, “just put one foot in front of the other.”

I ran a 5K race on Thanksgiving Day. I will do another in February, then an 8K, and then in April, I’ll do my first 10K.

What keeps me going? Well, I feel great for having done it, even if I don’t feel great before I go do it. I stopped listening to music as I run. Now, I am really “in my head” when I run (if I were writing honestly, I would write “trudge” in place of run, but run sounds so much better). It’s meditative.

I am not running for speed, although the faster I go, the more I want to run faster. I challenge myself.

I also had a friend doing the same program 500 miles away, doing her program on the treadmill while I ran outside. We commiserated with each other, and we congratulated each other. Now we are planning a race together.

What do you do to get yourself out the door and into exercise? We want to know.

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