of my heroes is British runner Ron Hill. When I was running cross-country
in high school I watched Hill win the Boston Marathon clad in Union
Jack-decorated clothing. His performance and flamboyance were inspirational
to me. But what most amazed me and what motivates me to this day is
his amazing dedication.
Hill has run every day since 1964! Imagine: Sick with fever; on business
trips; when kids were born; while depressed; no matter how legitimate
the distraction, he's true to his commitment and gets in his workout.
Hill is an exceptional individual with an incredible work ethic that
not all can emulate. You can however, use his extraordinary example
of commitment to motivate yourself when life topples your well-laid
exercise plans. To help, we've compiled some important guidelines. Keep
these in mind when a crazy schedule or predicament tempts you to give
up on your fitness goals.
You deserve the exercise you scheduled-stick
with your plan no matter what. Don't hesitate to be direct and tell
people that exercise is a priority to you, one of the few things you
do for yourself, and you're going to fit it in even if it means giving
something else up. Expel any guilty feelings by remembering that without
exercise you'll feel a lot different about yourself and might even act
different-many people do.
Once a week, or at least every
evening, plan how to fit your workout in the following day and do
your darndest to make it work. Then, don't let setbacks stifle
your urge to train. For example, if a sudden business meeting uses
up the lunch hour you slated for a workout, when you get home, hit
the trail, gym, or road before dinner. Or
an hour after dinner, slip out for your workout. If you decide that
nothing will deter you from your plan, you can always find a way.
And every time you beat the odds you'll feel great.
Think of surprises as opportunities
and you'll be able to handle schedule problems. If you plan a long bike
ride for Wednesday morning before work and you oversleep, don't get
upset. Instead, reason that you probably needed the rest and try to
fit in a short ride before work, during the day, or in the evening.
Or maybe just take a long walk at lunch. Remember that you can always
adjust workouts later in the week if necessary. This flexibility will
help reduce the stress level and you'll feel less pressure attaining
It may take ingenuity to stick
to your plan. Maybe you'll need to squeeze in a workout by walking,
running, or biking to work or home. Traveling on business? Try booking
rooms in hotels with gym facilities. Or you might improvise like Thomas
Prehn, a champion cyclist who travels to Japan frequently. Because he's in meetings
most of the day, Prehn found it impossible
to train on these trips-until he had the idea of traveling with a Bike
Friday folding bike and an indoor training stand. The trainer and the
Bike Friday fit in the same suitcase so when Thomas reaches his hotel
he combines the bike and trainer to create an exercise bike he can use
in his own room. Now there's a resourceful guy.
To help remain motivated and get
your workouts in, it'll help to focus on your goals. If you're determined
to accomplish them, you'll find ways to do what needs doing. Every time
you feel things getting out of control, think about what you're working
up to, key on how great it will be if you can reach your goal, and you'll
find yourself motivated and more determined than ever to do what it
takes to stay on track.
One big part of successfully reaching
a goal is to expect problems and have solutions in mind. Many athletes
have short but high quality workouts in the hopper that they can squeeze
in when the actual planned training falls through. Sure, they don't
get the same result but having an alternative plan helps reduce stress
and even a different workout is far better than skipping one.
This article is brought to you by Asimba, Inc.
Copyright 1999 Asimba, Inc. All rights reserved.
Schedule it - If it's not on your schedule, it's too easy to
2. Create a goal - Goals get us over the hurdle on those "down"
days when we' rather skip. Break long-term goals into short-term goals.
If you have trouble seeing yourself jogging 3 miles, start with one,
then add on in small increments. Starting is over half the battle.
3. Visualize Reaching Your Goal - All the major athletes do this
one because they know that it's hard to become what you can't envision.
4. Track your progress - Maybe it's an exercise journal, maybe
it's taking measurements. Somehow let yourself see the improvement when
it starts showing up.
5. Get support - Whether it's a friend, a spouse, or a fitness
club, give yourself some support for those times when you need a little
external nudging. It's helpful to tell friends and family what your
going for and to encourage you.
yourself with both intrinsic and extrinsic things such as:
- Talking to yourself positively
- Rewards after reaching goals
- Buying a good workout outfit
- Exercising in a variety of ways, especially ones you like
- Get ahold of some good music