This Sunday, October 11th, marks the 32nd Chicago marathon. 45,000 registered runners will pound the pavement throughout our fair city for 26.2 miles. I’m a runner, but I’m not a marathoner. The longest distance I’ve ever logged was 11 miles – and I paid for it. I’m more than happy to stick with a few miles a couple of times each week. This is especially smart since several years ago I suffered an overuse injury that literally side-lined me from any and all activity for months – I’d rather do a little than none at all.
A recent Wall Street Journal article http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704252004574455331050172834.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsSecond caught my attention because of this; “marathons are increasingly the exercise equivalent of crash diets”. That makes perfect sense to me. How many people do you know that have jumped into an exercise program rigorously and religiously in pursuit of a race (or not), maintained that activity for a short period of time, then completely fizzled out, never to don a running, walking or sport shoe again?
Exercise must be sustainable. It must be enjoyable. It must feel good, on some level. To confer optimal benefits, it must be consistent – week in and week out. If you go after exercise with an all or nothing approach, pouring your heart and soul into training and working out only to come to a screeching halt once you’ve crossed the finish line (or run into a scheduling conflict), please do your body a favor and find that happy medium. It may be a challenge at first, but over time you’ll find that doing a little bit each and every week is more beneficial than going on an exercise “crash diet” guaranteed not to last.