The single most important aspect of any good workout

Swan River Jetty

According to the weather report on TV last night, it’s about four weeks till summer but with the temperature hitting the 30s all this week, it feels like summer’s already here!

I tried to get up super early this morning for a run before it got too hot but ended up sleeping in past my alarm clock. When I finally got up at about eight this morning, the weather was already pretty hot but I decided to head out for a run anyway.

As I ran, I kept my eyes fixed on the shady spots along the river path as my temporary goals along the way – that was what kept me going along the long stretches where there’s nothing but the hot sun blasting away on my head!

In the end, I finished an 8km run with some pauses along the way to walk because it was so hot and also because this is my first week getting back into a regular exercise routine (I’d been down with a mild case of the flu over the last few weeks so I couldn’t exercise as much as I’d like.)

As I was walking part of the time and didn’t need to worry about my run time, I also stopped under the shade of a bridge at one point to take a few pictures of the river. Unfortunately I was using my iPhone camera which doesn’t take the best pictures (everyone else’s iPhone seems to take so much better, brighter photos!!) but look at this view! This is what encourages me to get up and head out for a run on any day.

Swan River Jetty 2City in the distance

Now onto the title of this post – or what I have decided is the single most important aspect of any workout, and most especially a good workout!

As I was pushing myself along the first leg of the run and contemplating whether I should stop for a walking break or just keep pushing, I remembered a post by Laura Fountain of Lazy Girl Running when she talked about her relaxed approach to training for a 70.3. Basically, she was training for a half-iron triathlon and was going to follow a training plan for this. However, instead of following the plan, she ended up just running when she felt like it, cycling when she felt like it and swimming when she felt like it, instead of sticking to a rigorous schedule. She explained how she wanted to be able to enjoy her training rather than just worrying about whether the workout she was going to do that day was going to give her a better time or a better placing on race day. She worked out because she enjoyed it.

And I think that’s what’s really important and that’s something we can lose sight of sometimes while training or working out. Instead of concentrating so hard on that goal of x amount of pounds lost or a better time or better placing on race day, we should concentrate on enjoying the journey itself. If an activity promises to make you loss more weight or gain more toned muscle but you don’t enjoy it – don’t do it. It’s not worth making yourself miserable over. Instead, do the activities you enjoy. Life is too short to do something you don’t love.

And so when I decided today I wanted to walk some parts of my journey rather than run, I walked. I enjoyed the lapping of the water on the riverbanks, the sunshine on the pretty houses, the unexpected coolness of the shade of some trees. I ran when I felt like it and I enjoyed the time I was running because I wasn’t over pushing myself then. And when I wake up tomorrow, I know I’m going to look forward to doing some more running – because I wasn’t forcing myself to do something I didn’t feel like doing. And if I feel like walking, I’ll walk too – ’cause that’s what I enjoy doing.

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