Re-Engaging My Competitive Side

There is nothing wrong with a little healthy competition, and I’ve been seriously lacking it for the past few years. Until I was 16, I played a number of competitive sports that kept my “hard work = winning” nature alive. After a series of injuries in high school (broken ankle, dislocated shoulder, fractured vertebra), I lost a most of that edge.

It became easy to make excuses. While recovering from injuries, I’d fallen behind and gotten out of shape. Somewhere along the line I stopped trying to compete… possibly out of fear that I’d let myself down or that I’d fail and then be crushed by the reality that I couldn’t do what I once was able to do.

The past few months of overcoming obstacles and doing things I’ve never done before are helping me re-engage that competitive side. It isn’t fully back in play, yet, but I’m slowly starting to let myself compete again. Holding myself to higher standards of exercise is the first step!

I was really struggling with motivation last week. I wasn’t as careful about what I ate, I didn’t exercise as frequently or with as much intensity… I just got distracted, I guess. So instead of letting that turn into a slippery slope, I took a moment this weekend to look at my progress so far, and reminded myself about how much further I have to go.

With my gusto back, I was determined to push myself last night! Never mind the 86 degrees outside at 6:30pm, or the super hills of my route, I was determined to run for 4 miles. I took off more quickly than usual tonight – ran the first mile in 9:31. I hit some big hills for miles 2 and 3, and slowed my pace down by about a minute/mile.

And… (drumroll)… I did the first 3 miles in 30 minutes 39 seconds.

Yep, that is faster than I’ve run before and then, I’m proud to say, I kept going! I power walked mile 4, and then was determined to finish strong on the last mile!  Much to my excitement, I ended with a 10:12 mile 5, making it my second fastest mile of the whole run.

I think my 2 biggest takeaways over the past few months have been this:
First, exercise should be tough. If it is easy, you aren’t working hard enough and you won’t get the results you hope for.
Second, it is okay to be hungry, within reason. Just because I crave something or think I want something unhealthy doesn’t mean I need to give in.

How do you overcome when you start to lose motivation a few weeks into a new routine?


3 thoughts on “Re-Engaging My Competitive Side

    1. Hmm, my brain has been feeling more powerful lately… 🙂

      I kid. I love that article though – I studied that in some developmental psychology classes I took in college. Pretty fascinating connection. Definitely going to the gym tonight woo woo

  1. I’ve been lacking motivation these past couple of days and gave into my couple cravings, but I think it’s ok as long as your recognize it. I let myself rest an extra day (I usually only rest one day per week from workouts) and ate that brownie I wanted and didn’t feel bad about it. Now I feel rested after not pushing myself and feel ready and stronger to tackle my typical workouts. I told myself that this would be my cut back week and would take it easier. This way I don’t get burned out on being intense all the time 🙂 Also, I recommend just going for a walk or taking it easy on the elliptical for 30 minutes even if you don’t feel like exercising. This way you don’t feel like you have to workout, but are still moving. Congratulations on your 5 miles! You’re a running machine these days. Have you seen the Self Magazine’s Drop 10 diet and workout plan? I’ve been following that and love it. They have great quick, easy, cheap meals and do-able workouts that take 30 minutes for 5 days a week. Check it out!

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