Admittedly we’re a little exhausted at the constant pull and judgement between opposing health and fitness views. Can’t we just all get along? Today’s post talks about the difference of opinion between the “no excuses” mantra of exercise and the “something is better than nothing” idea. The truth is, both can be right. In our opinion, there is a time to go slow and cut yourself some slack, and there are other times when pushing really hard can result in something amazing.
Now let’s compare the pro’s and con’s of pushing yourself through an athletic training program:
- The early wake up call
Consider this: On average adults need 7 hours of sleep per night. If you are chronically exhausted and rarely getting enough sleep you may be at risk for a bunch of different health problems. Feeling refreshed and full of energy are motivation enough to concentrate on good sleep habits.
But also this: Research shows that people who are early risers are more productive in their day and morning exercise has numerous benefits including a boosted mood. When training for a race or other athletic event, 4am and 5am may be your only options to get in that work. People often report feeling very accomplished and ready to take on the day after they’ve had their morning workout.
- The way your body feels
Consider this: I hate the term “no pain, no gain” because it can lead to dangerous behaviours that can cause chronic long term problems. New research is coming out about recovery times for training and the whole “listen to your body” idea has been around for a while now. Choosing to forego exercise in order to let your body rest can be a positive experience both mentally and physically.
But also this: Ever ran a race injured? Us too. Provided you have doctor’s clearance, there’s just something emotionally satisfying about completing a race when your circumstances tried to divert your efforts. We could talk about the emotional side of injuries for days (future post?), they suck, no way around it. Getting through your recovery plan and back in the game brings you a kind of pride that cannot be duplicated.
- Dealing with stress
Consider this: Making race goals, aiming for PRs, or trying a tough new event can mean a lot of pressure. When under the constant stress of measuring your actions you can start to feel not good enough. Training programs can take up a lot of time and forces you to prioritize. While organizing your time you may end up cutting out other activities which can lead to guilt.
But also this: Goal setting and working towards that goal are a part of every day life, not just fitness. Going through a training program encourages discipline and dedication. There are even times when the journey will be so much more for your soul than the actual fitness event you’ve signed up for. We can’t all be Olympians or professional athletes, so our race medals don’t mean “best in the world.” But they do mean “best in MY world.” I know that when I cross that finish line, no matter the circumstances I experience feelings of self love and pride that make all of the training worth it.
At the end of the day, we believe that athletic training programs CAN be beneficial. However we caution you to adopt a race and training schedule that has sufficient downtimes. For example, I only train for fitness events that take place in the summer and Katie’s training for her rowing team cycles three months on and one month off.
We’re both signed up for the Ontario WARRIOR DASH this July and we’re very excited to train for the race. In fact, we’ll be hosting a training group in May … more on that later ;).
What benefits have you experienced from training for a race or event?