Contributing to the blog over the past 8 years has been a way for me to notice changes in my fitness routines, habits, and attitudes. When I first started blogging I felt that walking and yoga, which were the mainstays (really the “only”-stays) of my fitness life weren’t helping me develop the strength I felt I needed to take me into my fifties.
I added weight training and running. Within less than a year, developing an interest in triathlon, I added swimming and cycling. Soon, as I set a goal to do an Olympic distance triathlon by my 50th birthday, I let go of yoga because otherwise I couldn’t fit in all the training sessions required to develop strength and confidence in the swim-bike-run. I could only do so much in a week, and yoga went to the back-burner. But I missed it.
And so after I met my triathlon goals and then realized I really hated the bike and gave it up, I inadvertently made space in my week for yoga again. And I’m glad I did.
Last year when I was recovering from an injury and not running much at all, I really rolled things back. For many months, in fact, I was right back to yoga and walking. And yet the years of weight training and running in between added a quality of strength to both. I kept up the yoga with a daily practice that continued right through to June — a consistent home practice, the actual goal of the Iyengar yoga training that was the foundation of my yoga practice for more than a decade. I reintroduced running in the late spring 2020, having made a commitment to run or walk every day just to get outside for something allowable during the pandemic.
And now, with a new stay-at-home order, no desire to get back to the yoga studio any time soon (and it’s closed in any case), and a resistance to running that has snuck up on me over the past few weeks, I’m back to basics: yoga, weight training, and either a walk or run almost every day (but mostly a walk because as I said, I’m not feeling it when it comes to running).
The simplicity of this routine, regular, daily, achievable (well, I confess that I don’t always achieve my daily commitment to getting outside for a walk or a run) makes it work for me. I think one reason it’s working so well right now is that where I used to be outcome-oriented (I wanted to get faster, or leaner, or stronger, or more flexible), now I’m way more process-oriented. I have the things I plan to do, and if I do them I consider it a win. Simple. There is no super-charged intensity around this plan. It’s just a daily checklist of things that give my pandemic life a bit of structure. For me, that’s a comfort.
I have other things that punctuate my days: morning meditation, check-ins with friends, a daily gratitude list that I write to keep me aware of the glass half full (or even more than half full), kitten-related tasks and joys. And of course I have work, and my weekly movie nights with a friend who lives elsewhere (this is a major highlight!), and a bookclub with that same friend, where we read the same book at the same time, talk about it when we’re done, registrer each of our ratings of it, and move on to the next one on an ever-growing list (which you can find on goodreads if you’re interested).
It all feels very basic and grounding. In the past I’ve blogged about the motivating dimension of goals (see “The Thrill of Signing up for Scary Goals”). But I’ve really come to grasp that, for me, different times call for different measures. And I’m appreciating the lack of intensity and absence of “outcome” goals. Right, simplicity and predictability in my fitness life feels exactly right.
What’s right for you these days?