On The Road:
Photo 1: Frank, Pete, Lexi, Christine, Christina, Mindi, Andrea
Photo 2: Nicki, Tara and Danielle, Andrea
The Joys of Immediate Gratification
I’m a triathlete. I train to participate in triathlons. It’s nothing terribly fancy. I swim, bike and then run. Sometimes the race is short and only lasts an hour, and sometimes the race is long and lasts as long as 17 hours. The longer the race, the longer it takes to train for it. For a 17 hour race, I could be training for eight months.
Training for long races is all about swim, bike, run, repeat, and this goes on month after month. If you think this sounds repetitive, you wouldn’t be too far off the mark. It can be terribly monotonous. There are very few things more rewarding than finishing an Ironman triathlon, but when that race is months and months away, it’s very hard to train day after day without wanting to push some of the workouts off.
It’s really just a matter of simple math. In the winter, when it’s snowing out, and my race isn’t until July, it’s hard to see the value of getting on my bike trainer when I would much rather go sledding with the kids or sip hot chocolate (and by ‘hot chocolate’ I mean wine. ) Heading to the gym to do a leg workout when my car is snowed in just doesn’t seem as much fun as starting season one of Dawson’s Creek on Netflix. And in the spring, the rain is so wet, and sleep feels so nice and not rainy. Math. It’s real.
But honestly, I don’t think I’m alone here. As much as I would love to admit to the otherwise, I’m more externally motivated than internally motivated. Being able to get out there and ‘suck it up’ or ‘kill’ a midwinter workout just isn’t my testimony, even though I know that getting out there and doing those things will make my race all those months in the future that much easier. So what’s a girl to do? How does anything at all training related get done?
Again, we come back to simple math. The juice needs to be worth the squeeze. Truth bomb: I’m a child. I need constant amusement. If it’s not fun, I will not go gently into that good workout. Yes, even if I know damn well that it’s for the absolute best to just get up and get it done. I need my juice now. But here’s the thing, knowing this about myself, helps me balance the equation.
The one thing that is always able to get me up and out the door for a workout, no matter what the weather, is meeting friends to train. A solo run in the cold rain is horrible. That same run with someone else is instantly funny and ridiculous, and if I can’t find someone to run outside with me, I can always find someone to meet me at the gym to treadmill next to me. It’s also so much easier to meet someone for spin class than it is to get on my bike trainer in my den. And having someone to share in the leg torture workouts just seems to make it slightly more bearable. Plus, who doesn’t love to gab in between sets? I’ve tried talking to myself, and my jokes just don’t land as well.
Call it misery loving company. Call it ‘the more, the merrier.’ Call it ‘Andrea’s a child and can’t tie her shoe without someone else there to chat with while doing it.’ Whatever we call it, the results are the same. (Any workout + Andrea + others to share in the experience) x as many workouts it takes to get me to my goal race = success.
It’s really as simple as that. My goal is often a race many months off, but no matter the goal, even if there is no specific goal, the fact remains, making things fun will make you want to do more of that thing. Have fun and get fit. You’re welcome.
(No actual math was harmed in the making of this article.)
About the Author
Andrea Kay is a longtime FI member, tri-Athlete, 50k runner and a regular contributor to Fit to Print.