Exercising is one of the foundational habits that I wanted to incorporate in my life. In 2014 I found a colleague who is passionate about personal training. He used to run exercise classes at my then workplace. He encouraged me to work out three times a week, became my accountability partner and have been since.
Three hours a week seems to be just about the right volume of time and effort to be consistent with my exercise goals and make working out part of my lifestyle. Anything more than three times is a bonus. But I hardly ever worked out more than three times a week in the past six years. Outside these three hours, I try to be active as much as I can through other things like using a standing desk, playing with my son outdoors and taking stairs instead of escalators or lifts (up to certain floors), walking as much as I can (and I love driving!) so my body is not rotting.
In 2019, I logged 127 workouts. At three workouts per week, I moved my backside 42 out of 52 weeks. Most of the ten weeks I missed my workouts are during and around my travels. I am fortunate to be able to travel internationally, and I don’t regret the longer flights from the Down Under. However, travel disrupts my workouts. So that’s the challenge I am looking forward to tackling in 2020.
But for now, here is the monthly break up of my 2019 workouts:
Travel to Seoul
Travel to the UK
Travel to India
Travel to the US
1 week Xmas break
I could have been more diligent and logged a few more workouts in June and July. Other than that, overall, I had a great workout year, and I look forward to levelling up in 2020.
I finally ran the first 5k of this season! I intend to run a 5k every weekend for rest of the spring and summer. I ran about twenty-five 5ks in 2015. But I did not run much in 2016. This year I try to do better again.
My running goal is modest: I just try to run a 5k each weekend. I start running around this time in October when days start getting longer and weather warmer. I stop running around March when days start getting shorter and wetter.
I can probably run a marathon or even a half of it if I train myself. But I find it hard to make time to train for such lofty goals. There are always other things to do. And I am more of a habits person than goals person. I don’t think I can run marathons habitually! So I settle for a 5k. As much as possible, I try to run non-stop and finish within twenty something minutes. That’s as ambitious as my running gets.
But if I could offer one piece of advice to incoming freshman, it would be to learn to take care of themselves—because they are about to be surrounded by people who often have the misconception that racking up achievements and accolades is more important than leading a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Should we encourage our children to work hard? Absolutely. But young people need to learn that grit is only effective when coupled with restorative activities like sufficient sleep, exercise, a well-balanced diet, meditation, walks in nature, and time off. Research shows that these basic yet essential self-care habits result in greater focus and productivity, not to mention increased creativity, better decision-making, and stronger emotional intelligence.
Yesterday I ran at a running event called Round the Bays. According to their website, it is one of the world’s largest fun runs and New Zealand’s largest mass participation sporting event. It is a 8.4km walk / jog / run from the city along the waterfront to St Heliers Bay, one of the rich suburbs.
My employer paid the participation fee and gave a nice bright orange tee shirt. This is not the only reason I ran though. I wanted to experience how it is like running among thousands of people wearing a bib. And I wanted to see where I stand among some of my super fit coworkers.
I did not practice specifically for this event. I run a 5k every Sunday. So this is my weekly run, just in the different part of the city, with thousands of other runners.
I ran 8.47 km non-stop in 39:42, my best. I stood at 13 among 187 coworkers and 635 overall among 19,619 participants. I’m pleased with my time and ranking.
Now what? a half-marathon? marathon? Nothing. I am not getting carried away by this result. Keeping my weekly tiny 5-8k running routine is important to me than any grand goals.