Recently I challenged a friend at the office to see which one of us could more often walk or run at least one mile each day until the end of the month. Ideally I would like to think I would do it every single day, but we have each put up $5 as a challenge to see who will walk/run more regularly. The only two rules are that it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you go, and you can’t bank miles from one day to the next. This means that even if you do 10 miles in one day, it only counts as a single mile for our purposes.
Why the Challenge?
Both of us were more active 2 years ago than we are now. We were both running regularly and she had gone through an amazing weight-loss transformation (as I had done almost 10 years before). At the time of our transformations we were motivated to keep going by the sheer knowledge of where we had come from.
But, for myself, as I have been in one place for a while, I have fallen into a routine. Unfortunately, I haven’t made exercise a strong part of that routine. I’ve gotten bored with running on the same rural roads day after day. It is wonderful that I don’t have to deal with much traffic where I live. I may only get passed by 2 cars on a normal 4 mile run. But, that is part of the boredom that has crept into my running. Running on a treadmill is as exciting as running in my rural community. Plus, the treadmill space can be environmentally controlled.
Battle for Right Thinking
When I proposed this challenge to my coworker, she immediately saw the benefit of encouraging one another. We both need it. She wants to get back to running again as I do.
In the course of our initial conversation she made a comment that reflected a battle I have with my own thinking. She was a bit discouraged because she knows she can’t just jump back into running again since she has been off for so long. She has gained some weight that causes undue strain and pain in her knees.
My friend lamented that if she could only walk she would have to walk 2 hours every day to get the same benefits she used to get from running. I had to stop her quickly from that type of thinking. “All or nothing” thinking like that can be so discouraging. Sure, 2 hours of walking would be better than sitting on the couch. But so would 20 minutes of walking. I agree that 20 minutes of walking isn’t as beneficial as 2 hours of running or walking. But, if you aren’t doing anything now, then 20 minutes is a great start.
I had a crazy schedule for a couple of days that resulted in about 5 hours of sleep over a 36 hour period. Unfortunately those 5 hours were pieced together from 4 different sleep sessions. Yeah, not a healthy schedule.
My daily walk for this particular day came right in the middle of that 36 hour period. I texted my friend and asked if she had already done her mile for the day. She gave an excuse as to why she couldn’t do her walk that may have gotten some sympathy from me if this was just the first or second time in the last week she had missed. I am not sure she even went out one time during the previous week.
I certainly don’t think you should abuse your body with lack of sleep and choose to walk instead; but, I had already slept as long as I could right in the middle of the day and I was awake anyway. So walking helped put me in a mood to catch another 2 hours of sleep later in the evening.
Challenge to Encourage, Not Discourage
I intended this to be a motivating challenge. It certainly has been for me. But I am afraid that if I’m not careful I can demotivate my friend.
I don’t know if this will get me back into being as active as I was, but it is certainly a start in the right direction.