Tag Archives: gym

i just wanted to fall off the treadmill…

It was raining this morning when I woke up at 7:30am on a Sunday (no alarm clock necessary). I had a bowl of Special K Berries & Yogurt, while I contemplated whether I should go for a long run outside or head to the gym and torture myself with a treadmill run. After deciding that outside didn’t look very promising, since it looked like a storm could break at any moment, I decided I would go to the gym.

Of course on my way to the gym, I saw two people running outside…but hey, with my luck all of the thunder and lightning, and buckets of rain would start when I neared my halfway mark. I had about 8 miles planned for the morning, so getting caught in a storm on such a trek wasn’t going to be an ideal situation (nor will it ever be).

I dreaded the idea of going to the gym for a long run on the treadmill. In fact, I dread the treadmill for any amount of workout that is going to last longer than 30 minutes. So, knowing that I was about to torture myself I grabbed my water bottle and my iPod and off I went.

I got to the gym, threw my belongings in a locker, and put my iPod on shuffle. When I found today’s lucky treadmill that got to do my workout with me, I set my water bottle, towel, and locker key down, and stuck my iPod in my inside shorts pocket. I started ‘er up, and so it began. Like I said earlier, 3o minutes on a treadmill…no big deal. But, today’s goal was 7-8 miles and that was certainly going to take me a bit longer than 30 minutes! As I reached 4 miles, I thought to myself, “phew! I’m halfway there.”

Then…as I was approaching 6 miles, I started thinking about what I would write about here today. Lots of things crossed my mind: if I can finish this workout I can finish anything outside; Satan probably orders long runs on treadmills as one form of torture; if I know I can make it to 8 miles what will I title my blog?; well, if I can make it to 8, why do that? I already know I can do that…I should just do 9 miles; and, even that I felt like my legs were going to give out at one point and I was going to pass out because it was so disgusting and muggy in the gym. All very positive things, I know 🙂

So after all of those thoughts, you would probably think I was nearing 8 miles, right? Wrong! I was just past 6.5 miles. Hey, at least I was getting further though. Man oh man…I wanted nothing more to do with that treadmill. So what happens at this point?

A man decided he was going to get on the treadmill immediately to my left (while there are a million other treadmills open…did he really have to get on one right next to another person?) and go for a leisurely walk. Awesome. Thank you, sir. All I would like to do right now is be done with my run, but I’m now almost at 7 miles and my goal is no longer 8 miles, but it is 9 miles…and you are just going to go for a nice little walk. Enjoy that while I continue to sweat like there is no tomorrow. No, I wasn’t bitter or annoyed by this man…not at all. I was joyous when he finished his good walk when I hit about 7.5 miles.

7.5 miles…great. In only a half mile I would be at 8, then I would just have to finish up one last solid mile to hit my 9-mile goal. At that point, I did the only thing there was left to do: take a gulp of water and turn my iPod up…then bust a move! Let’s be honest, after you spend so long on the treadmill that’s all that is really going to help you anyway. The treadmill is just keeping your legs moving at that point, and you just continue on, hoping for the best…hoping that your legs don’t just give out and you pass out.

And, believe me…I was ready to just fall off the treadmill a couple times during that workout and pass out on the floor space behind me. As hydrated as I kept, the mugginess of the gym was just not a good match for a long run. I managed to keep it going though.

Finally, I hit 9 miles. Phew! Done! I cooled down with a quarter-mile walk and it was time for me leave. I’m still kickin’…and feeling good today. So, I continue on with my motto…no excuses. If I finished that Satanic workout, I believe I can finish just about anything.

9 miles for breakfast on the treadmill…not necessarily enjoyable, but definitely satisfying. Success!


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learning how to be a well-rounded athlete: part 1

Cross-training days have been going well, for the most part. My biggest problem: making them as effective as they can possibly be. That probably makes you ask, “well, then why are you bothering with the cross-training workouts if they’re not effective?” or “why are you slacking?”

My problem isn’t that I’m not trying to be effective or even that I am slacking. My problem is that I know for some of my cross training (weight lifting, muscle conditioning, and things of that nature) I simply do not know how to do it properly so I am not getting the most of out those workouts.

The solution to this problem seems obvious: learn how to do it the right way, and start being the most effective you possibly can. Duh!

Well, that seems simple enough, but let me ask you: when was the last time you were in the gym and it was easy to learn how to use the machines or how to lift weights properly? Unless you are a female and there is a man who is good looking and looks like he could support every single one of your purse and shoe buying habits (and looks like he would be nice enough to interrupt his workout to help you), you are most likely not going to ask some other random person to help you. Ok, and let’s be honest…even if you are female and that guy is there, you are still probably not going to ask him for help either. My point is: it is not the easiest thing in the world to learn how to properly do exercises.

I want to learn how to do things the right way, and have them be effective as well. So, lucky for me…I have a few personal training sessions coming up and my personal trainer knows that this where I really want to work the hardest and learn the most. I have one person dedicated to me, during the time I spend with him, to teaching me how to do these things. Now, I know that most people are not going to run out and get a personal trainer (in fact, I will be completely honest and let you know that I would not be working with one if the first couple sessions were not free). I’m not saying you should either, or that you even need to. However, this has made me think about all of the times I have talked with people who mention the same thing I have mentioned: “I don’t really use the machines or lift  weights, or anything like that because I don’t really know how and I don’t know who to ask; but, I wish I knew because I feel like that would be good for me.”

That being said, there have got to be ways to learn how to use machines other than hiring a personal trainer, right? Can’t think of what these “ways” might be? Let me help…let’s think about it:

1.) Grab a friend just as clueless as you are. If you guys head to the gym together, you can have a partner in crime to figure out the machines right along with you. No worries about feeling dumb, because you’re with someone else and having fun figuring everything out together.

2.) Grab a friend who is in the know. You always try to figure out how that one friend of yours stays in such good shape. He/she always talks about going to the gym. You know they do some lifting, do some circuit training, and know how to do it the right way, so why not ask them to go join you in the gym for a day or two, or even more? You guys could end up training together even after that, who knows? Or, at the very least it will be time you get to spend with your friend while getting in shape, too–kill two birds with one stone!

3.) Ask a trainer, other gym employee, or someone using the machine. Did we forget why most people work at their place of employment? Most people apply to places they are interested in, doing something they enjoy at least a bit and are knowledgeable about. That goes for gym employees and trainers too! Take a step outside of your comfort zone and ask a trainer or other gym employee if they have a second to show you how to use a machine or two that you are curious about. Chances are they will be more than happy to help. If they are busy, they will probably refer  you to another person who is not busy at the moment or will offer to help you as soon as they can.

Another option here is to ask someone who is using the machine you want to use. Does the person using it look pretty friendly, like they might not mind taking a minute or two from their workout to help you out? When they are resting (obviously not in the middle of their hard work) ask if they would mind showing you how to use the machine, and if you might be able to watch their next set of reps so you can see how it is done properly. More often than not, the person will actually take it is a compliment that you are asking them for help.

4.) Go late. Belong to a 24-hour gym? Or, one that is open pretty late? Usually the crowds start to wane off around 9pm during the week. After that, the number of the people working out is minimal, which means you have less people looking at you (which people probably aren’t anyway, even when there are a lot more people there). You have a nearly empty facility to figure things out on your own, read the direction on the machine, and get a solid workout in! Before you know it, you won’t be afraid to head to the gym any time of day, busy or not, because you’ll feel confident and comfortable getting in just the workout that you want to.

Hopefully this helps, and you can start achieving even more of your goals at the gym! Now, get out there and get it done 🙂

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Getting Back On Track

I love change. I think it is completely necessary in accomplishing goals, innovating, and ultimately a key to greatness. The one bad thing about major life changes though? Getting off schedule…having no routine…feeling dizzy and off balance (so to speak) all the time. As you may guess, that has been me lately. Amidst moving, driving across the country, starting a new job, applying for scholarships (for grad school that starts in the fall), I have twenty million things going on at once, not to mention the main purpose of this blog, training for a marathon!

Well, now that I am just about settled in in my new location I can get back on track with working out again. Woohoo!

I just signed up for a free trial membership at Lifetime Fitness, so I’m going to check it out and see if I like it. The location is great for me while I am living where I am right now. If I move once school starts though (which is pretty likely), the available locations won’t be as great so I’ll have to see what the minimum amount of time is that I can sign up for a membership if I end up liking it. There are plenty of gyms though, so I’m not worried about finding a place to workout for the too-cold days, the too-humid days, and the cross-training/strength training days.

Since I start work on Monday, my goal while getting back into a routine is to workout where I can fit it in which will probably be at night. I will have a one -hour commute to work, so I’m going to try the evening workout thing at first. Eventually, I might try to get ambitious and workout in the morning, before work. No need to get to ambitious right now though. I don’t want to be defeated by setting goals that I already know are unrealistic.

I have a full month to make sure the base I have been working on is solid, before getting into full training mode. The break I was somewhat forced to take on my recent road trip across the U.S. actually helped motivate me even further. I was going crazy not being able to workout everyday. Also, I have had multiple people tell me how much they are enjoying this blog, and I have learned that I have even motivated a few people to start working out, or start working toward a goal they have had for quite some time.

More than anything, I love that this has inspired others to take action. The more I talk to people and the more feedback I get, the more excited I continue to get about my training. I have to admit that the snow outside isn’t as motivating as the sunshine and the beach, but I love the snow so I’m okay with taking my workouts inside for a few weeks. I wouldn’t have it any other way. People are better motivation than weather, anyway.

So…for all of you Michigan people who have been working out, or want to start working out, what better way than making each other accountable for what we do? We can workout together, we can communicate via this blog, or we can even get together for coffee/dinner/whatever and chat about what is working and what we need help with. I prefer not to post publicly where I will be, etc., since this blog is public; however, feel free to leave a comment if you want to join in on the fun and we can figure out good times to get together. It doesn’t matter if we workout together once a month, once a week, or we grab a drink every now and then–we’ll do whatever we have time for whenever we have time available. After all, we’re all in this together, to keep everyone motivated. I’m writing to keep myself motivated and accountable, and the feedback I have received has motivated me even more. Some of you have even started your own blogs to keep yourself accountable (yay!), so let’s keep it up. I’m mentally ready for Sunday, October 17…and soon I’ll be physically ready!

Are you ready?

Oh, that reminds me! For those of you who aren’t as crazy as I am, remember that there are options other than a full marathon on Sunday, October 17. If you’re interested in being down there for the excitement and still want to show off your accomplishments, remember there are multiple races you can register for at the Detroit Free Press Marathon web site. You’ll find them all at the web site, but for your convenience the races include:

  • Marathon (26.2 miles)
  • Marathon for wheelers and hand cyclists with disabilities (26.2 miles)
  • Half-marathon (13.1 miles)
  • Half-marathon competitive and non-competitive walks (13.1 miles)
  • Five-person team relays – distances from 3-7 miles (26.2 miles)
  • 5K Fun Run and Fitness Walk (3.1 miles)
  • For those of you who want to bring the kids, there is a Kids’ 5K Fun Run (3.1 miles)

Well, it is time to get all of my information in for my free trial at Lifetime. I’ll let you know how I like it.

Taking steps to get back on track…success!


Filed under Marathon Training