Keeping up a running and/or workout routine amongst the busyness of life is difficult, to say the least. Today’s Running Inspiration post is from my friend Sarah, who gets strength and motivation from her workout buddy Amanda to keep on running, despite her busy life!
Hello to you lovely Running, Loving, Living readers. I’m Sarah and I blog over at Beauty School Dropout. I am a mom to two boys (an almost-4-year-old and a 6 month old), I’m married to my college sweetheart, I work as an attorney, and I love to cook, knit, run, and read.
As you can probably tell from that last sentence, I’ve got a lot going on in my life — who doesn’t, right? So when I read Toni’s earlier post about running inspiration, it made me think: What is my inspiration to keep running and to stay active, in the middle of my busy life? Of course, I want to be healthy for my family, and fitting into my pants is a pretty good motivator too, but when I think about what actually gets me to lace up my running shoes or hit the gym, I’ve only got one word: Amanda.
Yep, Amanda: she’s my workout buddy extraordinaire. Having a dependable, regular person to work out with has made all the difference in my fitness journey, especially as life has gotten busier and threatened to push fitness to the back burner in my life. Here’s why you need a workout buddy in your life:
— Accountability. This is the number one reason that people recommend having a workout buddy, and I have to agree. It’s a lot harder to slack off when you know that someone else is counting on you to show up for a workout! I sometimes recommend finding a workout buddy that is more of an acquaintance than a best friend or spouse, because I think it’s a lot easier to text your best friend at the last minute (or roll over in bed) and agree not to exercise that day. With an acquaintance, hopefully there’s just enough unfamiliarity that you feel bad about canceling on them. Amanda and I are good friends now, but when we started working out together over two years ago, we were just co-workers who both liked to run.
— Encouragement. A good workout buddy should have similar fitness goals to you (one person training for a marathon and another training for a rock-climbing trip might have trouble coming up with mutually beneficial workouts to do together). Having someone else on the same path, who can help you brainstorm how to reach your goals and cheer you on as you do it, can be a huge boost to your confidence as you make progress towards your goals. I have been working on my goal of doing a pull-up for almost two years now (in my defense, I did have a baby during that time), and I’m pretty sure I would have abandoned the goal as impossible if I didn’t have Amanda encouraging me to keep working at it.
— Challenge. As a counterpoint, even if you have similar fitness goals, everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. It’s all too easy to fall into a routine of workouts that you like because they are easy for you (whether that’s a particular distance or speed of running, training certain muscle groups, or always attending the same fitness classes). Working out with a friend is nearly guaranteed to mix up your normal routine, and that’s a good thing! I’ve always favored cardio over strength training, but I have really grown to appreciate the benefits of lifting weights after Amanda convinced me to give it a try.
— Variety. Along the same lines, everyone has different interests, and giving up total control over your workouts to accommodate another person’s interests and goals can be a really great way to try new things that you probably never would have considered doing on your own (or maybe you would have felt intimidated to try by yourself).
— Flexibility. If you stay with a workout buddy long enough, chances are that one of you will get injured or have some medical issue that will require you to modify your workouts. Rather than getting discouraged about an injury, a workout buddy can help you be creative about what workouts you can still do while rehabbing that will benefit both of you. I never would have started taking spinning classes if we hadn’t been looking for a lower-impact activity while Amanda was recovering from an injury, but now I love them! (Especially during this winter that Will. Not. End!)
Everyone begins their fitness journey for different reasons. But sticking with it over the long haul takes a whole other level of motivation and drive. Having someone “along for the ride” can make a world of difference in helping you stay the course even when life gets busy.
If you or anyone you know has an inspiring running story and would like to participate in my Running Inspiration series, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with Running Inspiration in the subject line.