The ten minute rule

Missing: my motivation.  Please call if found.

I’m not sure why, but getting out the door has been hard recently.  It’s like, as soon as I pat myself on the back for grudgingly getting a workout done, it’s time for the next one.

For two weeks now, I’ve been planning and re-scheduling and re-planning and re-re-scheduling the same stupid track workout.  I bagged on it twice last week and ran easy instead.  Then I was going to to it yesterday, but decided to take a rest day instead.

Tonight, I was really-really-like-super-for-serious going to do it.

I kicked the cat off my lap, dragged myself out of my desk chair, grabbed my watch, and laced up my shoes.  I tried to envision myself striding happily and gracefully around the track.

It seemed impossible.

In desperation, I brought in the good old ten minute rule

“Look, self,” I told myself.  “You may not be up for this track workoutBut you are most certainly going to get out and do something.”

Okay, I thought.  I can do something.

“Run for ten minutes, you lazy ass.  Just ten minutes.  If, at the end of those ten minutes, you still don’t want to run, you can stop.  You can even walk home if you want.  Ten minutes.”

Out I went, loping slowly along the first mile of my usual 5-7 mile route.

Minute one: “My arms feel heavy.”

Minute two: “My shoes are too tight.” [Brief pause to re-tie shoes]

Minute three: “Ugh, people standing outside a restaurant smoking.” [Cross to the other side of the street]

Minute four: “Is this a hill?  I always thought this stretch was flat.  Why does it feel like I’m running uphill?”

Minute five: “My shoes are too loose.” [Brief pause to re-tie shoes again.]

Minute six: “My shoes just plain suck.” [I was wearing a new/different brand and style. They’re probably fine, I was just in a mood.]

Minute seven: “My ponytail is too tight and my head itches.”

Minute eight: “Did I remember to lock the door?”

Minute nine: “Seriously, I don’t think I locked the door.”

Minute ten: “Eff this.”

I wish I could tell you a motivating and inspiring story about how, after ten minutes, I felt fantastic and went on to have a great run.  Because that’s how the ten-minute rule works, right? 

Usually.  But today, I really did stop after ten minutes.  I really just did not want to be running.  I gave it a fair chance.  And it still sucked.

Motivating tricks like this only work if you honor the failures as well as the successes.  So I stopped my watch and had a nice walk home.

I think I need to shake things up, so tomorrow I’m going to get up “early” (for me) and run first thing in the morning.

Anyone want to meet me at the track?  Because I still owe the running gods a speed workout.

And I’ve gotta thing I owe it to myself, too, at this point.  I’ll keep trying.  One of these days, it’ll happen.

If this post left you feeling disappointed and unmotivated – well, I don’t blame you.  It was kind of a crappy post.  Hopefully I’ll be back on the horse – er, magical rainbow unicorn – tomorrow.  Until then, check me out elsewhere on the interwebs:

Guest post over at InTheGym, in which I discuss underwear and beer.  Doin’ mah blog proud!

– I’m now blogging for my racing team.  Today we are discussing Ticks!  Gross, but necessary.

That’s it for tonight.  See ya tomorrow.


21 responses to “The ten minute rule

  1. but still a stellar my little pony/unicorn drawing…
    cheers to tomorrow’s run…it will always appear to be better than today’s

  2. Is that a unicorn or a rhinoceros?

  3. So was the door locked or not?

  4. I usually give myself ten minutes to get into a run, too. Sometimes I go longer, sometimes I don’t — but yes, it is better than doing nothing!

  5. I’d love to meet you at the track and have a running partner for some speed work. Sadly I’m nowhere near NC, so instead I’ll send you speedy running vibes. 🙂

    And you’re right, the 10 minute rule only works if you’re honest about the good AND bad days!

  6. ugh smokers outside of restaurants make me want to vomit.

    and you better make those running gods happy with you. you don’t wanna piss them off. and if my knee wasn’t dying i’d SO be with you on that track. it’s embarrassing how much i’ve avoided it since…november!

  7. It takes me forever to get out to the track too, which is odd since all I need to do is leave work and walk across campus. After the track workout I usually feel great, but dread the bus ride in my sweaty clothes.

  8. At least you ran the 10 minutes. That’s arguably better than nothing. At least that’s what I tell myself when I was going to run 8 miles and end up doing 2, heh.

    Insert obligatory “u listened to ur body!!1” here.

  9. Haaaa. A scene I know well, brilliantly captured. The 10-minute rule is new to me, but I will definitely be making use of it!

    Maybe you are in a post-awesome-half-marathon hangover still?

  10. Sounds like you just needed to “listen to your body” and take a rest day! I should totally listen to my own advice because I have a hard time listening to my body and taking it easy when I need to.
    My “motivating speech” is “just get changed and put your running shoes on” ’cause I figure once my shoes are on I’ll at least go outside and run?
    This week I was feeling unmotivated as well so decided to switch it up with a spinning class on tuesday and power yoga yesterday. Both are great – but now I’m finally excited to go on a long run tomorrow. So I guess it worked!

  11. I have a 1 mile rule. Since it’s an out and back, it forces me to get in at least 2 miles. I have had to walk that 1 mile back though.

  12. 10 minutes is more than enough. Especially when you have to run through smoke.

  13. We all have those days/weeks. I’ve found it’s best to just accept that they happen, take a few rest days without the pressure of planning to run, and then get back out there. Usually the few days of 100% rest make me stir crazy and then I’m raring to go.

  14. Sometimes you just need a break!!! Most of the time if I “make” myself do it, I feel better afterward. But once in awhile there are workouts that are just a major fail because what I really needed was a rest day.

  15. Not every run is an inspiring soaring bit of poetry in motion. Sometimes you just don’t feel it.

    At least you were doing more for yourself than the people eating out and smoking. Lucky bastards probably had beer too.


  16. Sh*t happens to all of us. At least you got 10 minutes out and proved to yourself that your body really didn’t want to run- A for effort! 🙂 By the way, ticks are one of my greatest fears in life. I had one when I was 6 and it scared the crap out of me.

  17. Thank you for this. It made me laugh. The ten minute rule sounds like a great plan. Hopefully your next ten minutes are better than the last.

  18. I love that you really stuck to the 10 minute rule. I had either read this plan on your blog before…or somewhere else. Who knows, I’m a big lurker. But I have been doing that recently, and it has really helped my post workout mood. Sometimes you don’t want to work your tush off, and that’s okay! So I get some weird looks when I hop off the treadmill after 10 minutes, but hatas gone hate.

  19. Sometimes there is just NOTHING that will get you in the mood to run or continue. But the 10 min rule really does work like 90% of the time, so its always worth trying!

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