Elaine Doll-Dunn, Psy.D.

“Fear less, hope more, eat less, chew more, whine less, breathe more, talk less, say more, hate less, love more, and all good things will be yours.”
---Swedish Proverb

And what does this proverb have to do with commitment? Well, maybe it is a stretch, but if you look at a commitment to fitness as a thing feared, a daunting mouthful, an opportunity to carp, an impediment to your breathing space, an ogre…then reframe the way you view your plan and reap the benefits of staying the course.

Easier said than done. Even though I have been at this project for two score plus years, and it is habituated; I still have days when I think a virtual reality tour of the bike path/canyon would suffice, and that lifting those weights could take place just as easily on a less sleepy day. Can’t happen. It takes seven days to form a habit, and I think substantially less to break it. Being committed to something means just that. You can delay, change the venue, limit the time, or cut it short, but bringing yourself to the task daily is a very important mental part of the training. “Just do it.” NIKE says, and that’ll get you by; but ASICS says, “Don’t just do it, do it better!” I prefer that attitude, we deserve the best.

Even if you are already convinced that you health---and your running—is a priority, scheduling your runs on a busy day can still be a struggle. I often hear, “How do I find the time?” The answer is simple, change the question to, “How do I make the time?”

To successfully commit to any workout program, you must schedule exercise as a priority on par with work, family and other commitments. If you leave “finding” a half-hour or an hour a day up to chance, odds are that you won’t find that block of time. On the other hand, if you wouldn’t skip a run any more than you’d skip a day at work, you’ll almost always make the time. Here are some of the tricks of the trade to help overcome scheduling debacles.

Do it first. Many people run as early as 4:00 or 5:00 A.M., when interruptions and excuses are least likely. Set your clothes out, pull the shade so the light peeks in, and get to bed a little earlier. Great way to start the day!

Do it immediately after work. Don’t do the grocery shopping, ignore the couch, and don’t listen to the answering machine. Make it a ritual, get out the door, the housework and dinner preparations will wait…trust me.

Use creative scheduling at work. Arrive earlier in the day or work later at night in order to take a midday break. (Of course, that presupposes sweating; but problems are for solving, right?)
Make your runs more than just exercise. Instead of meeting friends for lunch or dinner, suggest a group run. If there’s a non-runner in the group, see if she can ride her bike. If you know other runners at work, invite them along and head out on the trail to problem-solve.

Keep a running log: Great motivator, I sometimes feel worse about having a non-running entry in my journal than about not having run! (I have 25 completed Jim Fixx running logs, and one in the process. Well, it’s something to leave the kids…)

Set a running goal: If you are on target for a 10K, a half or a full marathon, it’s much easier to make the time to work-out. A new outfit, class reunion, family picture; you know what works for you.

Run with a buddy: If you know someone is waiting for you out there in the chilly dark, it gets you moving. A little dark haired lady standing at my door-step quietly saying, “I’ll wait…” makes the alarm clock much more appealing. Or, I can loan you a big white dog, absolutely excuse-proof.

So be committed. There are those who think we oughta be…

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