Learning to Push Myself

I wasn’t particularly athletic in middle school and high school, so I’ve always associated any kind of exercise-related exertion as being evidence that I’m not fit, not athletic, not cut out for [insert athletic activity here].  Feeling like I need to breathe harder?  Bit of sweat trickling down my back?  Soreness in my abs?  My immediate reaction was “I can’t do this.”  I always assumed that people who run on weekends, play in tennis weeknight tennis leagues, or workout regularly do it all with relative ease. I always thought it was easy for everyone else but me.

That’s all changed now.  One of the most important things I’ve learned from my trainer and from running is that it’s never going to be easy (hence the “work” in “working out”), and that it’s ok to push myself physically.  I think it was our 7th session–we were talking about my progress, and I said that I was bummed that the workouts weren’t getting easier.  My trainer laughed in a good-natured way, “Um, it’s not supposed to get easier. Your workouts are actually getting harder. Stop thinking of yourself as someone who can’t do this.”

It’s been hard.  Sometimes on a long run,  I want to stop because I’m not supposed to be a runner! Or when I’m in the middle of a plank/push up series, Huh, my arms feel tingly. I should just take a break now. But when I do push through, it feels pretty awesome.

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