April 17, 2018

The No-Decision Workout

I had a rough night of travel last night. I accidentally left my driver’s license at home (I had stashed it in a pocket of my ski jacket this weekend and forgotten to retrieve it), which meant some hassle trying to get through TSA security without an ID. It was surprisingly easier than I expected – I showed them a credit card with my name on it and a prescription in my bag with my name and address, and then I just had to submit to a full pat down and search of my bags. But I had forgotten that I’d also need a driver’s license to get my rental car upon landing. When I got to Florida around midnight, Avis wasn’t so easy to persuade to rent me a car without my license (though I had by then found a photo of my license to pull up on my phone). I finally got to my hotel at 2am (the front desk staff know me by name and didn’t ask for ID), and crashed into bed shortly thereafter. All totally my fault for not having my license with me!

I usually go to Orangetheory on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but with that late night, I wanted to squeeze in some extra sleep, so I opted for a quick run instead. It used to be that this type of scenario would have me doing 1.5-2 miles just to get something in, in 15-20 minutes. But I’ve gotten so much faster that now 20 minutes means I can knock out a 5K on the treadmill! How awesome is that?! I’m still not getting serious about training for a sub-20 5K (mostly because I haven’t wanted to travel to sea level for a goal race), but it’s great to know that when I’m exhausted and on only 4.5 hours of sleep, I can still bang out a 5K in 20:20. No excuse!

Which brings me to the point of my post today. I recently read Stephen Guise’s post, Don’t Make It A Decision, which resonated with me strongly. This is exactly my workout philosophy, and why I keep paying to go to Orangetheory rather than doing the workouts on my own. When all I have to do is show up for class and follow along with what the instructor tells me to do, it’s a lot harder for me to wuss out and make a workout easier than I should. (See: the many times I’ve tried to copy an Orangetheory workout from the Reddit and ended up modifying it to be shorter. I’ve always done just one or two blocks of it on my own, never a full class!)

This is also why I work out almost exclusively in the mornings. It takes the decision out of exercise if I set my alarm the night before, because once that alarm goes off, I know what I need to do. (And there really isn’t much else to do at 5:30am anyway.) When I went to bed last night, I considered saving my workout until after work in order to get another 30 minutes of sleep. However, I knew that if I tried to hit the gym after work, I’d either end up working late or I just plain wouldn’t feel like running.

I don’t usually have brain fog in the morning (I wake up pretty instantly to alarms), so for me it’s more, exercise before my brain figures out the million other things that I need to do.

This morning, with this post in my head, I tested that idea a little bit: I told myself that 3 miles wasn’t as long as I was hoping to run on my non-Orangetheory day this week, and that maybe I’d get a few more miles in tonight. But when I got out of work, even though it was super early (only 7pm!), I decided I just didn’t feel like exercising – and I headed to dinner and then back to the hotel. When I had the choice of what to do, it was a lot easier not to put the hard work in. Oops!

So – back to early morning workouts it is. And specifically, back to Orangetheory tomorrow. It’s supposed to be a strength day and I’m looking forward to trying to keep my 9.5mph base pace on the inclines!


2 thoughts on “The No-Decision Workout”

  1. I like this idea. I do something similar, I write all of my planned workouts on my calendar. I generally keep the same schedule each week (Monday is boot camp and yoga, Tuesday a workout with my running club, etc) but this way I can plan out what needs to happen if I have a work or personal obligation. I make the decision about my workouts ahead of time and treat it the same as I would any other scheduled obligation.

    1. I tried that for a while, but ended up deciding that I like to have the freedom to vary my workouts by day rather than planning by week. It sounds like you’ve found what works great for you though!

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