I love to run. Running is zen in motion. It’s the closest I get to nature on a regular basis (I run along a river). It releases stress and clears my mind. I’m not just all about running, though; I also do many other activities.
But there are days when I do not want to move at all. When I wake up on a cold winter morning, I sometimes want to just stay under the covers than brave the wind, and sometimes snow, or worse rain. When it’s a hot humid summer day in Tokyo, typically in July and August, and maybe September, I often want to just sit in front of the fan with a big tumbler of cold water. June is about to descend on Japan, and that means days and days of rain, again reason to want to stay in. Even when its spring or autumn, my favorite times of the year, there are myriad things that can distract me, such as chores, work, social life, a stack of DVDs, and a stack of books, to name a few. Sometimes, controlling diabetes is not enough to get me going.
So, I have accumulated little tricks for those times when I know my back will refuse to separate from the bed or my butt will prefer the comfort of the couch. Here are 5 of my favorites.
1. I pay myself. Once upon a time, I read about an actress who recovered her svelte body within a couple of months of giving birth. A number of the online comments were variations of “If I were paid to exercise and eat well to look good, I’d look like her.” My knee-jerk reaction was “Well, why don’t you pay yourself then?” Immediately followed by “Wait, why don’t I pay myself?” So I started paying myself 500 yen for every 30 minutes of exercise. I dedicate a new piggy bank to something specific (funding an expensive trip, or sponsoring a cause). One year, I outfitted myself with my very first ski wear, skis, ski boots and goggles, plus new running shades, plus shades and goggles for my husband, from my piggy bank. Another year, the monetary rewards went to charity.
2. I sign up for a race. I need to train for a race, and I’m not the only one. Many runners do the same. I also try to combine travel and racing (not necessarily a marathon). This idea came to me when I ran the Marathon du Medoc. Not only did I run through summer and raced, but I had a grand time dressing up (it was a costumed run), meeting new people, and seeing new places.
3. I look at magazine photos of Dara Torres. I hope I don’t sound like a pervert. But she motivates me to stay fit. Have you seen how good and fit she looks? I keep magazine photos of her Got Milk ad at the office and at home. She looks like she can kick ass and I’m sure she does. However, I admire more than just her physique; I am inspired by her achievements – five Olympics, and she missed a chance for her 6th only by less than a tenth of a second!
4. I buy running apparel. Some women love jewelry, others adore clothes, and many more collect bags and shoes. I collect running apparel. If I could live in my running clothes and shoes, I would be very happy to. I’m always excited to run to show off my new tank top or shorts.
5. I wear my skinny jeans. Few things can get my butt out the door more effectively than a pair of newly laundered, freshly ironed skinny jeans. I’m sure I don’t have to explain why.
What about you? I’d love to hear how you motivate yourself to exercise.